By Max Patrick Ocaido
Members of Parliament have warned state minister for Lands Persis Namuganza against dragging President Yoweri Museveni’s name her ‘fights’ with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.
While appearing before Parliamentary committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline that was recently tasked to investigate the genesis of the feud between Kadaga and Namuganza, the minister told the committee that President Museveni is aware of their fights and that he (Museveni) had ordered the cancellation of installation a new chief in Bukono chiefdom, but Kadaga defied the directive and oversaw the installation of the new chief.
“This matter would not have escalated if Hon Speaker [Kadaga] had listened to the President’s advice. On 27thFebruary, the President told me to stop the installation of the new chief, but Speaker defied and flew to Bukono and presided over the function,” Namuganza told the committee.
During her submission, Namuganza also Bukono County MP on several occasions cited the President’s involvement in her fights with Speaker Kadaga, prompting MPs to seek clarity on the level of the president’s involvement.
Namuganza said that she and her family enjoys a ‘cordial’ relationship with the President and even when her late father Prince Christopher Mutyaba died, the President visited them.
“We need you, Persis to come out clearly and tell us if the president is really in the know because you have mentioned his name several times and yet it is shaming to involve the president’s name in your women fights,” Gideon Onyango, Samia-Bugwe North MP said. He added that it is becoming a daily routine for Namuganza to attack and belittle her colleagues.
“It's not the first time you're coming out to attack people in this country. You attacked Hon Nantaba and even called her a prostitute. Is this your character, we need to know so that when dealing with you, we should know that Persis is like that,” he added.
Rules Committee chairperson Clement Obote Ongalo (Kalaki County) also asked Namuganza to substantiate on her levels of relationship with the President considering that she had mentioned his name a couple of times.
“Relating with the president involves you and the president, so you know your side of the relationship and that is what you should tell us. Then it will be the president to also respond about this relationship because you are the one who has brought up the matter and your presentation mentions the president a lot,” Ongalo said.
In her response, Namuganza said that it would be unfair to her to start explaining her relationship with the President and it is only prudent for the committee to interface with the President. She added that Museveni’s involvement is not as a result of her relationship with him, but because the fight between her and Kadaga had escalated into a matter of insecurity.
“I will not state so deeply the relationship between my family and his Excellency when I have requested this committee to interface with the President. I think it is unfair for me to answer on his behalf,” Namuganza said.
“As a head of state, any controversial matter which causes insecurity, I think it is the duty of the President to intervene. The President intervened in the issues of the Rwenzururu Kingdom because it had escalated into insecurity and this is why he also intervened in Busoga kingdom fights because it has also escalated to insecurity since huts are being raided and burnt down by unknown people. So, the President’s involvement into this issue has nothing to do with relationships.”
MP Ibanda Rwemulikya, Ntoroko County MP questioned Namuganza’s pedigree as minister considering how she responds to such fights in the media.
“We are looking at an honourable minister who has not only involved herself in fights with the Speaker, but also other colleagues in this Parliament like Leader of Opposition [Winfred Kiiza] and minister Nantaba. As a minister and MP, don’t you think you should have some shock absorbers on how to handle such matters rather than lashing at everyone. Is this your character or it’s a provocation?” Ibanda asked.
Namuganza, the Princess
In her defence, Namuganza said that it is Speaker Kadaga who provoked her into such foul utterances, adding that she [Kadaga] has caused pain, suffering, divisionism and insecurity in Busoga sub region.
“It is the Speaker who declared war on me. I was wondering why she would not declare war on poverty following a recent report that Busoga sub region was the poorest. This means the Speaker has failed to supervise government projects that have caused these levels of poverty,” Namuganza told the committee.
She added that Speaker Kadaga should equally be summoned to the committee and advised on the decorum of the office of speaker to bar her from involving in matters of Busoga Kingdom yet she is neither a princess nor a member of the Council that installs chiefs.
“She [Kadaga] should desist from politically interfering in delicate matters of the royalty of Busoga. She should leave issues of royals to the royals. She doesn't belong to the royal family or even royal council which has responsibility of installing kings,” Namuganza added.
Namuganza also ordered the Busoga Parliamentary Caucus to refund the money they have been ‘stealing’ from her account with 100% interest saying that she has never subscribed to the Caucus that she kept on referring to as ‘So called Caucus.’