The National Resistance Movement (NRM) yesterday in Kakumiro district marked 37 years of leadership in Uganda but what was interesting is that neither the Speaker of Parliament Anita Among Magogo or her deputy Thomas Tayebwa were in attendance despite being senior NRM members.
According to political analysts, at least one of the two leaders of parliament should have attended the function attended by thousands of Ugandans and where Parliament’s sergeant-at-arms Ahmed Kagoye was awarded a Diamond Jubilee Medal.
“I have never attended a national NRM function where both the speaker and deputy speaker of parliament are missing. Not even in the 10th parliament or 9th parliament,” a strong NRM carder said, when asked of what could have happened to the two leaders of parliament.
Others who have been watching the relationship between parliament and NRM as a political party say there has not been a major stand-off between the two sides since the two were elected to their positions.
“It is hard to believe that there is a rift between parliament and NRM that would force Among or Tayebwa not to attend the celebrations yesterday,” another politician added, notwithstanding the fact that the two top leaders in parliament were fished by NRM from rival Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and have now made a mark in NRM and the country’s history.
Moreover other political watchers say the only time that Among and Tayebwa came close to antagonizing President Yoweri Museveni is when the president initiated a Vinci coffee deal that would promote the new company’s coffee business at the expense of local players. None of the two-Among or Tayebwa has supported Museveni on this deal but still relationships between them and NRM party were strong as the legislators have always defended Museveni’s presidency when issue arise in parliament, especially from the National Unity Platform (NUP)-led opposition.
Enter Minister Persis Namuganza
A few days Parliament spearheaded by deputy speaker Thomas Tayebwa censured the controversial state minister for housing, Persis Namuganza for allegedly disrespecting the institution of parliament and its speaker who the minister alleged had illegally married Budiope East MP, Moses Magogo who is also FUFA President.
Analysts now say that Among and Tayebwa are annoyed that Museveni has not responded positively after the MP censured Namuganza who also happens to be the Bukono County MP, whose voters have not welcomed the censuring of their daughter as minister.
The two expected Museveni to drop Namuganza as the law requires, having been censured on Monday. Tayebwa is said to have written to Museveni informing him of Namuganza’s censure.
Now analysts say Among and Tayebwa did not attend the NRM celebrations to force Museveni to sack Namuganza as desired by the MPs.
Since her censure on Monday, Namuganza is still performing her duties of state minister for housing and is hopeful Museveni will not sack, even though she has made it clear she will not resign despite being censured.
Article 118(2) of the Ugandan Constitution stipulates that upon a vote of censure being passed against a minister, the President shall unless the minister resigns his or her office , take appropriate action in the matter.
Namuganza’s troubles started last year when parliament’s ad hoc committee that was investigating the Nakawa-Naguru land saga pinned her for unlawfully manipulating the allocation of plots. They would recommend that she steps aside to pave way for further investigation, which she declined, reasoning that Parliament had no powers to make such a decision, apart from the President. The MPs having done their job, it remains to be seen if Museveni will crack the whip on Namuganza. However, the more the president delays to take the decision, the more it hurts Among and Tayebwa who are at the helm of Parliament but also are disgusted that Namuganza has gone to court to save her.