Oulanyah kicks out Ssemujju as Sejusa asks to appear via Skype
Posted Sunday, October 6 2013 at 01:00
Common Sense: “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason” - Thomas Paine.
They may not like to admit it, but the truth is that many of our lawmakers are worried about the rate at which cancer is killing their colleagues.
But cancer is not only killing MPs, it’s also killing other Ugandans. Uganda has one of the highest rates of cancer infection-related cases in the world. The survival rate for most common cancers in Uganda is 10 per cent.
The angel of death visited Parliament on Monday, bringing the number of the MPs who have died in the 9th Parliament to six.
This time, it was Bukanga MP, Gregory Matovu. After a long and painful fight, the MP succumbed to cancer of the throat. On Tuesday, Parliament paid homage to him and used the tribute to call for a war against cancer. The hope is that as the lawmakers wake up to see sense in the need to wedge a nationwide war against cancer, the survival rate will eventually rise to at least 90 per cent – saving as many as 6,000 Ugandans who die each year.
Matovu, 58, will be greatly missed and Parliament Watch sends heartfelt condolences to the people of Isingiro District. His death comes hardly a month after the demise of Buhweju District Woman MP Joy Karisa Arinaitwe. She died of cancer. In calling for a robust war against cancer, the lawmakers across the political divide said early diagnosis and treatment will make a difference.
After presiding over the passing of a draconian piece of legislation: The Public Order Management Bill, 2012 on Wednesday, Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah started from where he stopped. For opposing the Bill, Oulanyah suspended three members who effectively served their suspension and came back to the House. But when Oulanyah came to the House this week, he demanded that Kyadondo East MP Ibrahim Ssemuju Nganda opologises to the House.
Mr Ssemuju refused to apologise because the rule under which he was suspended does not require an apology. With the backing of the front bench, Oulanyah ordered Sergeant -at- Arms, assisted by Vice President’s body guards (strangers) to eject Ssemuju from his seat and throw him out of the chambers.
Members who spoke to Parliament Watch, labelled Oulanyah as a “disgusting Speaker” whose mission is to appall the House. They wondered why he could not let bygones be bygones and cultivate a new path based on tolerance he preached to members in his acceptance speech on May 19 2011.
Other lawmakers, including senior legislators in the House, talked of an aggrieved Deputy Speaker venting anger on Members of Parliament on account of his poor working relationship with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.
In a Statement the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mr Nandala Mafabi, castigated Oulanyah’s actions as ludicrous. Mr Mafabi said the Deputy Speaker as a presiding officer cannot single- handedly amend the rules “to serve his anger and personal whims.”
Oulanyah invoked Rule 80(2) and suspended members.
Although the members were already serving their suspension, on August 6, Oulanyah amended his earlier ruling without even citing any rule. The members obediently served their suspension and returned to Parliament under the provisions of the law more than three weeks ago.
South Sudan warned
Citing the endless killings and harassment of Ugandans in South Sudan, the lawmakers on Wednesday threatened to pass a resolution, urging partner states to block South Sudan from joining the East African Community.
Condemning the “inhuman” behaviour of South Sudan, some lawmakers led by Kampala Woman MP Nabilah Nagayi Ssempala demanded that Uganda also expels South Sudanese.
Debating the Sectoral Committee report on Tourism, Trade and Industry on the Petition of Ugandan Traders in South Sudan, the lawmakers said the harassment and mistreatment of Ugandan traders was real and was happening.
The Committee urged the South Sudanese government to stop the killing of innocent Ugandans.
Mr Dennis Obua (Ajuri) said: “We cannot continue handling South Sudan with kid gloves because they buy our products. Our people are dying and I want to put South Sudan on notice that if the worst comes to the worst, we will move a motion that South Sudan is not admitted into the EAC.”
The lawmakers noted that it’s not just a bilateral issue; it’s an issue of attitude and reminded South Sudanese that they are no longer at war, but they are a country and they must behave like a government in charge.
The MPs said many Ugandans were languishing in prisons in Juba, women are raped, drivers are killed and traders are suffering. Parliament claimed that the people of South Sudan had forgotten so soon what Uganda did for them in the struggle for independence.
President Museveni on Wednesday declared Gen David Sejusa a deserter and said “if he wants to use force, let him come. He knows my address…We have been waiting for him for a few months now.” But as President Museveni sounded the invite, in Parliament, the Rules Committee was mulling over the possibility of interrogating Sejusa via Skype. However, on Thursday, Sejusa’s legal team told the Committee of his “final decision” on the matter that with all the great respect he has for the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, he will not appear before the Committee to defend his seat.
The lawyers said their client believes the process is flawed because the Executive is exerting undue pressure on the Speaker contrary to the Constitution. However, the Committee chairperson Fox Odoi (West Budama North) said his members were still waiting for Gen Sejusa to appear before them.