What you need to know:
- A day after Parliament passed the resolution, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja said the event would proceed as planned and that government had given instructions to the Ethics ministry to handle the process.
On Sunday afternoon, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, the 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East Africa Community Affairs, went groovy at the Nyege Nyege Festival in Jinja District despite a parliamentary resolution against the event.
“This afternoon, I took off time to visit the Nyege Nyege festival at Itanda falls, accompanied by Mr Ali bhai of Talent Africa, Mr Hillary Baguma, brand ambassador of Uganda waragi, I always support the cause of the ordinary people,” she tweeted.
Critics and analysts have derided the Executive for ignoring parliamentary resolutions.
Mr Ndebesa Mwambutsya, a political professor at Makerere University, yesterday said undermining such resolutions shows that the Executive does not respect constitutional practice.
Prof Ndebesa said the behaviour of Ms Kadaga, who is also the Kamuli Woman legislator, shows that Parliament is still captive.
“Parliament is under captivity and they can make resolutions but if they do not converge with the agenda of the Executive, the latter will prevail,” he said.
A day after Parliament passed the resolution, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja said the event would proceed as planned and that government had given instructions to the Ethics ministry to handle the process.
But the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Thomas Tayebwa, warned legislators against showing up for the event.
“There is a resolution of this House and if any of you goes to Nyege Nyege, you will be in trouble,” Mr Tayebwa said last week.
On the same day, the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among, organised a medical camp for Bukedea District residents. She is also the district’s woman representative in the House.
Ms Flavia Rwabuhoro Kabahenda, the Kyegegwa Woman MP, called for separation of ministers from legislators to avoid cases where both sides end up working against the Legislature.
“It’s high time that we had a separation of powers. Members of Parliament should not be ministers so that we have clear spaces for the two,” she said.
Mr William Chemonges, the Kween County MP, said it was bad for Ms Kadaga to attend the festival.
It is not clear if any action will be taken against legislators who defied the Parliament resolution.
We were unable to get a response from Mr Chris Obore, the director of communication at Parliament, on whether those that defied the resolution will be penalised or not as his known mobile phone number was switched off by press time.
However, Mr Emmanuel Dombo, the director of information at NRM Secretariat, said Parliament should have sent representatives to the festival to understand its operations and find out flaws which they could have used to make better future legislations.
“Did Parliament send the relevant committee members to perform oversight on Nyege Nyege? How will they debate it next time without benchmarking? Ms [Sarah] Opendi [Tororo Woman MP] did well when she was the Minister of State for Health by camouflaging and arresting medics in hospitals. Why not do the same for Nyege Nyege?” he questioned.
Mr George Wandera, a follower of Ms Kadaga on Twitter, wondered what kind of relationship she aimed at creating by attending a function Parliament voted against. “Was Rt Hon. Minister (Kadaga) right to support the Nyege Nyege when it was openly opposed by Rt Hon. Speaker AAA (Anita Annet Among)? Which relationship, which atmosphere did she create?” he tweeted.
Prof Ndebesa said the two arms of government should have had dialogue to reach a consensus on the matter.
He added that Parliament must now take a decisive action to ensure that their resolutions are not neglected next time.
“If they keep quiet now, it will be a precedence and they will continue to be ignored and we shall have business as usual,” Prof Ndebesa said.
Although the order of national presence places the Speaker in third place above the Prime Minister and the First Deputy premier, who come in distant 8th and 9th places respectively, Prof Ndebesa said this only remains on the paper.
“All those who have opposed the Speaker, including Ms Kadaga and Ms Nabbanja are below the Speaker in order of precedence and are contradicting her with impunity. If the Prime Minister and her deputy can contradict the person above them without apologising and showing remorse, it means the order or precedence is just a mere rhetoric,” Prof Ndebesa said.
“We have to distinguish between constitutional rhetoric and constitutional practice because what is stated in the Constitution is not commensurate with what is being practised,” he added.
Clash of egos?
Ms Kadaga has served as the Deputy Speaker and the Speaker of Parliament for two terms each, while Ms Among and Mr Tayebwa are former Opposition Forum for Democratic Change party members, who are only in their first term as Speaker and Deputy .
Prof Ndebesa said the while such egos can play out, they should not usurp the supremacy of the Constitution.
“We can’t rule out that because there could be fighting on who is more powerful than the other one in the hierarchy, but that boils down the rhetoric and practice because even if there is clash of egos, the Constitution should be able to prevail over that,” he said.