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By Mulengera Reporters 

Kasanda North MP Patrick Orishabe Nsamba is incidentally one of the most eloquent and intellectually well-grounded members in the NUP Parliamentary Caucus. And last (Tuesday) night he was a guest on NBS TV’s Barometer program where he fiercely debated with Charles Rwomushana, DP Vice President Mukasa Mbidde and an MP from the ruling NRM party.

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Simon Njala Kaggwa equally did very well authoritatively moderating the discussion much better than Zambale Blasio Mukasa has ever done since taking charge.

The impending ELALA MPs’ elections was the theme that was being discussed. Njala repeatedly accused NRM leader Gen YK Museveni of using his party’s numeric strength in Parliament to trivialize the EALA platform. He charged that, ironically, DP leaders like Mukasa Mbidde were aiding him in doing exactly that.

Nsamba was here to justify his party NUP‘s decision to stay away from the EALA exercise though he couldn’t coherently explain how different EALA is from ACP and the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) where NUP continues to proudly eat things on behalf of the entire opposition. Nsamba’s argument was that the Mukasa Mbidde case, which required EALA MPs to be determined through universal adult suffrage where all MPs elect and it’s their vote that counts and not the wishes of political parties, is what enabled NRM to vulgarise the regional assembly representation the way they are currently doing.

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Nsamba rightly asserted that, whereas originally it’s whoever the mandated parties nominated to carry their flag automatically became an EALA member, Mukasa Mbidde‘s case empowered NRM to have the last word on who goes to Arusha. And that this is how NRM has continuously effected deal-making while luring members of other parties to be loyal to it or else one forgets about EALA victory.

“In the past, NRM wouldn’t have any say because the moment your party was in Parliament and nominated you as a flag bearer, it was done. There was nothing Gen Museveni would do about it as long as the party sponsoring that candidate was entitled to do so. But following Mukasa Mbidde‘s unhelpful case, to win one has to go and engage in some deal-making and political marriage with NRM and I’m surprised this is something the DP Vice President is very proud of,” Nsamba submitted.

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He added that Mbidde‘s case provided a window for unprincipled politicians and fortune-hunters from equally unprincipled political parties to make personal deals with Gen Museveni (and strengthen themselves to that extent) but in actual sense weakened multiparty democracy in Uganda. “Can you imagine that now one can’t win to become an EALA MP unless he or she gets blessed by NRM? This used not to be the case and shouldn’t but NRM today leverages on its numbers to determine for its competitor parties who goes to EALA. This is regrettable and not something the DP Vice President should be here praising himself about.”

Nsamba said that its total injustice that bigger parties like NUP and FDC can’t have representation at EALA simply because Gen Museveni doesn’t like them “yet much smaller political parties like Hon Mbidde‘s DP end up dominating things and being assured of victory simply because their unprincipled politicians are good at making personal deals with the Junta,” said Nsamba whose views and eloquence angered Mbidde to the extent of dismissing him for being one of the many MPs in the Ugandan Parliament who are totally ignorant about what the EALA assembly is all about. “What his case achieved was personal victory for him as Mukasa Mbidde but deprived the broader opposition cause because the right thing would have been each and every political party in Parliament having a representative at EALA though NRM would still be entitled to have a lion’s share because of the numeric strength it has.”

A clearly cornered Mbidde explained that those things of parties stop in Uganda because once it Arusha, it’s about issues and issues only. He added that for the last 10 years he has been in Arusha, he has never found it necessary or relevant to proclaim his DP membership to anyone.

“Clearly there is a lot our political class don’t know about the Assembly but the good thing is that my book is soon getting ready. It will be out soon to help the likes of Hon Nsamba to begin understanding what EALA is all about. He clearly doesn’t know anything about EALA from his submission,” asserted Mbidde renowned for his politics of sophism. However, the moderator didn’t push him hard enough to explain why DP continues insisting on sending someone there (through its platform) since the thing isn’t about parties at all.

Mbidde also advised Nsamba to inform his NUP colleagues about the need to work very hard to grow their numbers in the next Parliament if they indeed want to have the last word on who goes to EALA during the 2027 round of elections. “This matter of who goes to EALA was resolved on the day Ugandans elected their Members of Parliament. That’s when the question of who will be the voter for EALA was determined and I don’t know why Hon Nsamba didn’t work hard enough to ensure that his party has the majority in Parliament to determine who goes to EALA,” Mbidde said.

Nsamba said the pride with which the outgoing EALA MP was speaking about the NRM‘s numeric strength was proof that the DP Vice President wasn’t remorseful about the treachery reflected in his case which has resulted into the current status quo whereby President Museveni and his NRM are now the ones to determine who among opposition candidates goes to EALA.

Nsamba maintained that it’s very anomalous to have a situation where the leading and other bigger opposition parties can’t have representation at EALA simply because Gen Museveni considers them hostile to him and resorts to unprincipled deal-making with fortune hunters from smaller parties like DP. This reference to DP being a small (ka) party (as Nsamba repeatedly called it) demonstrably kept angering Mbidde each time Nsamba mentioned it.

Nsamba said he doesn’t personally hate Mbidde but the truth is the flamboyant politician from Kalungu had betrayed the broader opposition cause and ordinary Ugandans will never forgive him for it. “I even voted for you because it was order from above by the NRM party Chairman who insisted we must vote for you because you are a good DP. At least you are here explaining yourself unlike some ki-man called Chris Opoka of UPC who I gave my vote because of order from above but I have never seen him again since,” said Nsamba as Mbidde irked to speak back. The NRM MP in the studio rebutted Nsamba‘s point with “just admit that Mukasa Mbidde was a good candidate and that’s why you elected him and not because you were forced by NRM.”

The NRM man wondered why the same Nsamba didn’t accept to equally be gagged when it came to scrapping the age limit in the Constitution during the December 2017 vote. Nsamba is among those who defied NRM party and voted against the amendment. He was still NRM from which he decamped in 2021 for Kyagulanyi’s NUP whose exclusion from EALA Simon Kaggwa Njala, the moderator, insisted was an immoral thing.

Njala demanded that the likes of Mukasa Mbidde begin to exhibit some sense of shame about some of these things if they indeed still have any conscience at all. “You say your case was about inclusion of all shades of political opinion in the Ugandan Parliament as is practicable as possible. How then do you comfortably sit in Arusha and enjoy yourself when the leading political party is locked out simply because President Museveni isn’t comfortable with them?” Njala queried as Mbidde uneasily turned in his seat.

The NRM MP in the studio once again came to the rescue of Mbidde by saying: “Simon Njala Kaggwa let’s not behave as if this is entirely new. You mean you don’t know that for the last 10 years FDC wasn’t represented at EALA even when it was the leading opposition party? So what is new? How come you didn’t raise that question before?” (For comments on this story, get back to us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734 & 0200900416 or email us at




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