CHAOS IN NRM AS NEW MPS GANG UP ON NABANJA & TAYEBWA OVER JUICY COMMITTEE, COMMISSION POSTIONS
By Isaac Wandubile
There is brewing anger and sentiments of apprehension among NRM caucus members who are MPs for the first time. The legislators are angry about the proceedings at the “conspiracy meeting” which they claim the new Prime Minister Robinah Nabanja and Vice President Jessica Alupo convened at the VP’s Board Room on Tuesday. That during the meeting, a conspiracy was mooted and agreed upon to sideline new MPs while allocating Parliamentary Commission and Parliamentary Committee chair positions on grounds that they are still too naive to merit serious posting (until they are taken through things process by process).
Mulengera News has spoken to a number of new MPs who exhibited bitterness at the way leaders at the Tuesday VP Board Room meeting diverted from the consensus Gen Museveni had imposed involving the OPM, leadership of Parliament, the Finance Ministry and that of the Government Chief Whip. “Mzee had decreed that the Speaker, Deputy, GCW and the Prime Minister must sit and agree on names of people they each have confidence in to chair the Committees which are for the ruling party and the three back benchers meant to lucratively sit on the Parliamentary Commission,” one of the legislators keenly briefed about the day’s proceedings confided in Mulengera News.
At the Tuesday meeting, was GCW Thomas Tayebwa, Deputy Speaker Anita Among, Alupo, Nabanja and others. At the meeting, Nabanja, who likes calling herself Majegere, disregarded the names other leaders had fronted for Parliamentary Commission and instead fronted Hoima MP David Karubanga, a former State Minister for Labor, who she marketed as adequately senior for the job of Parliamentary Commissioner. Members were told the job of Parliamentary Commissioner is too sensitive to be entrusted to some of the first time MPs who the Speaker’s chambers is understood to be comfortable with. That’s how the names of David Kabanda and Woman MP Esther A Ochan from Zombo were sidelined, a thing that has angered a good number of their fellow first term MPs who wonder why the party leadership was uncomfortable when the same argument was being advanced by more elderly politicians to enviously overcome Thormas Tayebwa for the position of Deputy Speaker or even GCW.
The Speaker’s Chambers had also fronted the name of Bukhooli Central MP Solomon Silwany which too was rejected and instead its David Karubanga and Gomba Woman MP Sylivia Nayebare that were agreed upon as suitable for the positions of Parliamentary Commission. But the more than 37 NRM MPs from Buganda are also actively furious with the Nayebare choice to eat things on behalf of Central region as if more authentic Baganda politicians can’t be found.
“Its increasingly becoming clear that some of the people at those OPM meetings are using these Commission jobs to reward people who campaigned for them which is contrary to the spirit of consensus-building which Mzee wanted to prevail because we, the new MPs, in first term must be visible at all decision-making levels both within NRM and Parliament, otherwise we have the numbers to mobilize ourselves and cause trouble because we are actually a solid majority,” rants an NRM MP while making reference to groupings like Kakoba Onyango’s Young Parliamentarians Association (YPA) which galvanized young MPs and countered the mainstream NRM views during the 6th and 7th Parliaments.
There is also anger that Premier Nabanja’s Bunyoro sub region risks being seen as eating too much and being over represented in the Parliamentary Commission where the sub region is destined to have three figures namely the PM herself, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija and David Karubanga who the PM is fronting to serve as one of the three back bench MPs from the ruling NRM party.
“These positions are of privilege and influence and yet they are few. We can’t afford giving all of them to people from one region. Where is the inclusiveness Mzee always talks about being the bedrock of NRM?” rants an MP. Besides the PM, Finance Minister, the other Commission members include the Speaker & Deputy, the LoP and four back bench MPs-one from the leading opposition party (Francis Zzake & three from the ruling NRM).
Some NRM MPs, in their first term, say that they are counting on CEC to overrule Nabanja and veto her suggestions over who should sit on the Commission. But its also true that during the Tuesday meeting, members were contemptuously told not to worry about CEC whose members allegedly don’t have powers to alter much as the allocation of Parliamentary Commission opportunities is the business of the Prime Minister and GCW more than the ruling party’s Central Executive Committee. Saying they won’t tolerate anybody undermining them simply because this is their first time in Parliament and are therefore thought to be naive, some of the new comers want Gen Museveni to inquire into claims that during the Tuesday meeting, one of the leaders dismissed them as inconsequential regarding the allocation of Committees’ and Parliamentary Commission positions.
Even for Committees, there is already wide spread uneasiness among some of the MPs with many wondering why some districts are destined to have a lion’s share. They give the example of Sheema district whose Municipality MP Dickens Kateshumbwa is destined to chair the Finance Committee with Rosemary Nyakikongoro being designated to chair the lucrative Committee of Defense & Internal Affairs. The same Sheema district is angrily perceived as already eating enough because its home to the Cabinet Ministers of Local Government and that of Internal Affairs.
Isingiro’s Stephen Kangwagye is being destined to chair the Human Rights Committee as Eng Nathan Byanyima goes for the one of Physical Infrastructure. From the same Isingiro hails Minister Bright Rwamirama whose son Mpaka Mwine is destined to chair the Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Tourism & Cooperatives. “This excessive empowerment of legislators from certain districts and regions is already angering many of us as new NRM MPs but we are looking forward to CEC and the Party Chairman in the hope that they veto some of these recommendations; otherwise it won’t be good if all of us who feel alienated to mobilize ourselves and coalesce into something similar to YPA,” says a one of the new NRM MPs Mulengera News spoke to for this article. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).