As political activist Ingrid Turinawe made her way from Najjanankumbi to Parliament in the centre of Kampala, charges against her floated through Parliament’s corridors.
One of the charges was that she is one of the Ugandans who derogatively refer to Members of Parliament (MPs) as MPigs. The tag, traced to Kenyan political activist Boniface Mwangi, compares MPs, who usually ask for pay increments, to pigs. Pigs, like hyenas, are known for their appetites.
Today is the day when the MPs vote for Uganda’s representatives. Various nominees have been campaigning on the floor of Parliament, trying to convince the rest that they are worthy of being selected. So Ms Turinawe’s nomination as one of the two Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) nominees to the East African Legislative Assembly afforded them an opportunity to “punish” her.
When it was Ms Turinawe’s turn to campaign, many MPs started chanting, “Twamuganye, Ingrid twamuganye” – which, in this context, is Luganda for “We do not want Ingrid.”
They sang for at least four minutes, refusing to heed the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga’s order calls.
This brings us to the second charge against Ms Turinawe. And this once was said when she was present.
“Twamuganye kubanga yeyisa bubi,” which loosely translated means, “We rejected her because she behaves badly.”
Ms Turinawe, has been involved in many a procession, which the Uganda Police Force, however, dispersed violently.
When Ms Kadaga finally told the MPs that however long they chanted, Ms Turinawe is entitled to speak, they went silent.
Ms Turinawe said the chants did not surprise her.
“I came here expecting this. I am being entertained,” Ms Turinawe said. “I am the winner, at the end of it all. I have managed to expose what you are.”
She then urged the MPs to vote for her even though “you fear your boss”. “Voting is by secret ballot,” she said.
Among other issues she intends to champion at Eala if voted in, would be to vouch for the Monetary Union, promotion of human rights, free movement of labour across borders, and minority rights.
Ms Turinawe’s nomination has been eventful. At one point, the President of FDC Major General Mugisha Muntu rescinded her nomination. Ms Turinawe would later say she had not agreed to withdraw from the race. Maj. Gen. Muntu later said he had been misled.