To Florence Nebanda: Watch out for political predators in Parliament!
Posted Friday, February 15 2013 at 02:00
With a calm smile on her face, Florence sailed through the primaries of her party, and went on to sweep the elections proper.
Ms Florence Andiru Nebanda will soon be sworn in as Woman Member of Parliament Butaleja, after a facing off a field of strong and formidable opponents. For a well deserved and decisive victory, warm and hearty congratulations to Nebanda!
This column has not, in the past, congratulated any individual Member of Parliament for being endorsed by the electorate to that August House. This time round, we have felt that the election of Nebanda demands special mention and commendation, for a variety of important reasons.
Nebanda has not been the first person to fight an electoral campaign after the demise of a close relative - while seeking to replace that relative in electoral office. The difference is that the relative in this case, her younger sister the late Cerinah Nebanda, passed on in particularly painful circumstances, moreover shrouded in acrimony and controversy.
Where a lesser mortal would have floundered and probably given up, a deeply grieving Florence Nebanda still marshaled all her reserves of strength, courage, sobriety and judgement, to rise high above the confusion, slander and the multiple pressures that characterised late December 2012.
She unhesitatingly and firmly identified with her party, the NRM, and made it publicly known that she sought to replace Cerinah in Parliament - on the ticket of the NRM. This clarity and singularity of purpose on the part of Florence Nebanda must be recognised, and saluted. It is the hallmark of a steadfast leader in the making.
With a calm smile on her face, Florence sailed through the primaries of her party, and went on to sweep the elections proper. The NRM, led by President Museveni, also clearly and strongly identified with its flag bearer, campaigning vigorously for her in every corner and nook of Butaleja. The President also did his best to rally those who had lost in the primaries and others who did not otherwise support Florence, behind her candidature.
Now that she has won, Nebanda’s attention must now shift to the discharge of various general tasks and duties, as a Member of Parliament. There is no doubt that she will be equal to these.
She should, additionally, help heal the wounds in her own party arising from the electoral process, and help unite all the people of Butaleja after an election where physical violence amongst supporters of different candidates, sometimes manifested itself.
Nebanda should show magnanimity in her victory, by extending a hand of friendship to all those who competed with her in the primaries. She should find it within herself, to work with all of them. The same hand should be extended to those who stood against her as independents, and those who stood against her from the Opposition.
She should, similarly, seek to work with all the leaders in Butaleja, irrespective of whether these initially supported her or not. Where she encounters resistance, she should persevere, and at least go on record for her having given it her best.
Her biggest challenge will probably be in Parliament, where she will undoubtedly bump into all manner of groupings. This is where she will encounter the challenge of legislating for the good of all Ugandans, while remaining a disciplined member of the party with which the people of Butaleja have overwhelmingly renewed their tryst, in her fresh, clear victory.
As indicated, there are political predators who are on the prowl in the precincts of Parliament, whose pastime it is to attempt to prey on the younger cadreship, to divert their attention and energies from dealing with the main historical tasks of the day. These will undoubtedly seek to ensnare Nebanda.
Fortunately, for the people of Butaleja, Uganda and Africa, the plans of the predators will fail. The political light of Florence, which was lit when that of Cerinah was prematurely snuffed out, shines very bright.
And, in her work, Nebanda will not be alone. President Museveni and the rest of the national leadership of the NRM, will no doubt be close by - to guide. In her membership of the NRM, Nebanda is a proud member of a national liberation movement, whose historical mission is to help the people of Uganda to transform their reality from backwardness to modernity. She is in the winning team.
Mr Mafabi is the private secretary/political affairs- State House.