Joel Kamadhi has been away for most of last week, recuperating from a bout of malaria.
But his return just yesterday filled members of the Mutungo Malwa Club with anxiety, and the sage did not disappoint.
“By the way, I have been suffering from Malaria, but can you imagine I had to struggle to get the appropriate drugs for my treatment from the nearest government health facility, and was referred to pharmacies in town which are run by the same doctors who referred me there!” he started off, sending members into a bout of laughter.
“Interestingly, all this is happening while our MPs lavish themselves with goodies including exempting themselves from having their allowances taxed,” Kamadhi, a hitherto self-avowed National Resistance Movement (NRM) diehard supporter, railed on.
According to Kamadhi, even President Yoweri Museveni, his party chairman, has fallen for the MPs’ antics and assented to the bill.
“My Chairman has always insisted he is a pro-people leader and I just don’t understand how he can assent to such a bill that will see just 435 people swallow over 40 billion by dodging taxation,” he said before adding: “Perhaps it is because he (Museveni) is also spending several millions a day that he just can’t realize how bad the issue of tax exemptions on MPs allowances is for the country.”
Apparently, Kamadhi was in foul mood and wanted to hear nothing of his party and its MPs who he says, are intent on ‘bleeding the country to skeletal proportions’.
“For such a bill to pass it must have gotten support and you all know very well that the NRM has the majority MPs in the House. This makes them highly culpable! Unfortunately, there are no drugs in hospitals; children still study under trees; the roads are in a sorry state; and these fellows are just pillaging Uganda as if it is coming to an end tomorrow; so where are our leaders’ priorities for the country?” Kamadhi wondered, to the surprise of all other members who are aware of his political inclination.
Yorokamu Bwambale, Kamadhi’s hitherto ‘lifetime adversary’ in the club this time came in to his support, giving an example close to his home district of Kasese. “Even those who stole timber, gold and coltan from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) did not succeed in making the country lose of its mineral wealth and other natural resources,” Bwambale submitted, citing names of various military officials from Uganda and Rwanda.
“Some are dead but the DRC is still here with us!” Bwambale said, before giving the members what he called ‘a piece of advice’.
“My friends, we are here, poor men and women, but should one of us ever rise to a position of authority, please remember that your first duty is to serve the people of Uganda not yourself; none of us here came into this world with any property,” Bwambale said.
Shortly after Bwambale’s presentation, Joseph Lakony P’Orach, a member more known for his laid back attitude, spoke.
“Brothers, we live in a country where leaders seem to have lost it all; can you imagine one highly-placed leader told the people in a certain area to pack food for their school-going children in food flasks?” Lakony asked.
He added: “It is ironic; in a country where pupils still study under trees, how can a leader tell parents to pack food in a food flask? I find that strange given the fact that even most people in the major towns and in the city do not know or have never come in contact with a food flask,” Lakony P’Orach said, and summed up: “In times like these which are difficult, with despondency driven by poverty clearly setting in among the citizenry, leaders should mind what they say, otherwise the name ‘Marie Antoinette’ might just keep popping up during discussions like this one.”
Just after Lakony P’Orach’s submission, Kamadhi ‘reclaimed’ his position of being ‘an authority on matters of national importance’.
“Well I have heard that civil society organisations in the country are moving to court, seeking to reverse the position of Parliament taken by the MPs. I think this is a positive move which will also act as a benchmark when issues of separation of powers arise,” Kamadhi said, before bidding the members ‘good night’.
But just as he exited the door, Hitler Eregu, who had all along been immersed in The Daily Monitor newspaper, asked: “By the way Kamadhi, what happened to the proposed construction of the fruit factory in my home region of Teso?”
In haste, Kamadhi answered: “May be you need to re-elect Jessica Alupo as MP for Katakwi; she was the brains behind that project.”
“Good night’, we’ll meet after the festive season,” Kamadhi said as he announced he would have his Christmas and New Year in Itakaibolu, Busoga.
This is a burlesque column that will be running every Friday.