Uganda: Why We Won’t Allow Life-Presidency

2017-09-29 10

Nandala-Mafabi. Photo: Facebook

[Uganda: Comment]

When I was elected to Parliament by the people of Budadiri West in my home district of Sironko, I stood on the steps of Parliament before cameras and I swore to uphold and defend the Constitution of Uganda and praying for God’s help.

As Parliament, we have a duty to protect the Constitution and promote the democratic governance of Uganda and legislate laws for the good governance of Uganda. There are two issues here to note democratic governance and good governance.

Democratic governance is about transparency, open dialogue, efficient regulation and effective rule of law. Here citizens must be given access to participation in decision-making, access to information, and able to hold government accountable for its performance.

Good governance is a process of decision-making and how those decisions are implemented on behalf of our electorate. But we must do all this following our Constitution that we all swore to uphold and defend.

I have read the Preamble of our Constitution many times, but I know where we have come from and the history of our country, I made a deliberate and conscious decision to follow our Constitution that has beautiful pieces of laws and as well as great safe guards that can protect us as country from bad leadership and leaders. In 2005, we fought to block the deletion of term limits from our Constitution but hundreds chose to take 5 million shillings ($2,500) and extended Mr. Museveni’s rule that has crippled the governance and rule of law of our country, hence putting us in this dilemma.

Today, I am reminded of the “Black Mambas” military men in black that raided the High Court to re-arrest Dr. Kizza Besigye and PRA suspects that had been granted bail.

A quarter to 2pm, our colleagues started seeing a number of military personnel accessing the precinct of Parliament as we were preparing to head to the chambers for the day’s session, we knew that it wouldn’t be a rosy session after all we had been getting threats from the same people.

I would like to believe that the Speaker acted emotionally, yet she would have followed the rules of procedures and avoided to play by the script of the day that obviously ended with passing of the Magyezi motion with any hindrance (to open debate on the age limit). Inviting security operatives into the chambers of Parliament defiled Parliament and is unacceptable. But to remind the Speaker, the suspended Members of Parliament were deprived of their right to put a spirited fight in defense of the Constitution.

We were all roughed up, mobbed, our clothes torn as they pulled us like animals and shoved into waiting police vans and trucks. Myself, Honorables Wilfred Niwagaba, William Nzohgu, Moses Kasibante and Atim Joy were taken to Kibuli CID and we were all driven back to our homes with a litany of charges. I was left at my gate at 10:45pm.

What I can tell Ugandans this is the beginning of a very tough and long battle in defense of our Constitution. This life presidency cannot be left to take effect, it is our constitutional right to fight it.

Nathan Nandala-Mafabi is a Ugandan Member of Parliament

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