Reviews & Profiles
Speaker of Parliament suspending journalists
Posted Monday, February 4 2013 at 02:00
I will start this by reminding us of a cliché. It’s a saying that goes along the lines of “If you cannot be trusted with small things, you cannot be trusted with big things either.”
And when the news that the Speaker of Parliament, the Honourable Rebecca Kadaga, who had set her tenure apart as the very emblem of justice, had suspended two journalists from the Observer newspaper for allegedly writing falsehoods about her, it is understandable why you would immediately be reminded of that good old adage.
Her reaction in this saga is of interest to you because it lays down bare the behavioural traits of a leader, who already wields so much influence over our country. And, who knows, she could rise to even higher positions of leadership.
Parliament does not belong to Hon Kadaga or her deputy. It is a national institution, whose running she has been temporarily mandated to manage. And more, individuals like the calm and soft-spoken David Tash Lumu of the Observer, are placed at Parliament to watch over what Hon Kadaga and her band of politicians are doing with the mandate we give them. The public, Hon Kadaga’s employer, has an interest in Lumu and his colleague’s presence at parliament.
Instead, she seems to have treated the August House like her own, where it is either her way or no way. There is no being nice about it; such behaviour is dictatorship of the utmost magnitude. And if this is how she lays down the rules when she is only manning parliament, how then, you should ask yourself, would she act if we woke up one day and she was head-of-state? Would it be possible to make any public criticism of her?
Would media organisations that criticise her survive to publish a sebsquent edition?
Museveni calls for scrapping of bail
President Yoweri Museveni has once again made it clear that he wants to cancel bail for suspects of capital offences. He restated this at the 27th NRM Liberation Day celebrations in Kasese. The president said such a measure would help fight corruption by keeping suspects, who would otherwise tamper with investigations, behind bars.
You should be interested in this suggestion because you need to read into the actual reasons why the head of state may be pushing for this law. First, is he being honest that bail hampers government efforts at fighting corruption? Are all the cases of theft of public funds done because offenders know they can get bail? Is this the best weapon the state has in its fight against corruption?
Are you not being taken for a ride here? Critics have accused the regime of wanting to use the scrapping of bail to detain opponents longer and raise fear against dissent. It is a proposal you should watch with interest, because you do not know whether you may be a target.