We live in complicated times with many unanswered questions
Posted Friday, January 25 2013 at 02:00
Let me just start with the PLE results and congratulate those kids who did very well and their parents and teachers.
Too many things are taking place and unfortunately I do not have the space to comment on them adequately. Take the arrest of ruling party MPs to silence them so that they do not speak out on such issues as the sudden death of their colleague or the prevailing debilitating rampant corruption or the secrecy relating to the management of the newly discovered oil resources or the suppression of MPs petition to recall parliament. There are also such matters as the conviction and sentencing of Mr. Mike Mukula to imprisonment for four years and the release of PLE results for slightly more the half a million students without explaining what happened to the more than one million other students who started P1 with them.
Let me just start with the PLE results and congratulate those kids who did very well and their parents and teachers. Let me also point out a few issues that should be noted. That like the gap between the rich and privileged is widening, so is the concentration of good exam results in a few areas. The areas of the highest density of poverty, like Busoga and Karamoja, also happen to be the areas where PLE exams results are poor. These are also the areas where the ruling party has been doing very well in elections and quite a number of people from these areas hold ministerial positions for recognition of their political work.
The question for researchers is: Could there be a correlation between poor exam results and density of poverty with support for the ruling party?
If there is a correlation, is there any attempt by government to invest resources to change this situation or is there a noticeable neglect of these areas in order to entrench this situation as a sort of regime survival technique? How does this situation continue without any significant complaints from these areas? For example there is no protest vote or dissent from political leaders from these areas, though to be fair there was some noise from some MPs from Karamoja which was snuffed out rather too quickly to bear any results.
The fate of the petition of the MPs to recall Parliament could easily have been foreseen but not for the reasons given by the Speaker. The Speaker announced that some petitioners had amended the petition by withdrawing their signatures which of course meant that if signatures could be withdrawn through her then signatures could also similarly be added to cure the defect of withdrawals. Secondly it is interesting to know whether the signatures of the withdrawing petitioners were actually deleted from the petition and if not how was the withdrawal effected?
The MP who alleged that his signature was forged raises the question whether Parliament has specimen signatures of MPs and whether there was an opportunity for MPs and even the public (media) to examine the authenticity of the petitioners’ signatures. All in all the fate of the petition once again proved that irrespective of the constitutional provisions that delineate the powers, functions and jurisdiction of the various organs of state, there is only one power centre in Uganda, the President.
This is why the Mukula conviction and sentencing has been widely interpreted as extra judicial, even if pronounced by a court of law. Outside court, before going to Luzira, Mukula himself called his fate “persecution”. And in fact, whereas his lawyers are appealing the conviction and sentence, there are other people organising protests which will be addressing the President because it is assumed that he has power to change or influence court decisions.
Questions have been asked as to why or how Mukula’s co-accused, who all come from the President’s area, have not suffered Mukula’s fate and how come that the magistrate, Akankwasa, who by her name also comes from the same area! Then to complicate matters the President, the minister of defense and the Army Commander (an MP) declare that the military could take power if the Parliament continues to be over assertive.
The irony of this threat is how the military can take over power in an essentially military regime when the President is the actual military commander and even the day on which his military captured power –not when elected- is actually a national holiday?
Mr Ruzindana is a former IGG and former MP.