PARLIAMENT – Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has accused the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) of chasing out the fishing community from Lake Victoria in what she says would privatize the lake.
The Speaker made the remarks during today’s plenary sitting while commenting on a matter raised by Buvuma Island MP, Janepher Nantume after accusations that the army is violating rights of women in island communities, after imposing a ban on smoking of fish.
She said: “When I go and speak and they attack me, no one answers for me, the soldiers went on radio saying the Speaker doesn’t know what she is talking about, me with Master’s Degree I don’t know what I am talking about! Our people are being chased out of the lake, it is being privatized.”
This isn’t the first time the Speaker is lashing out at UPDF over their torture of people in fishing communities, in January 2019 she revealed that one of the Ministers attacked her in office demanding she stops talking about the army and although she remained mum about the particular individual, Kadaga lashed out at fellow NRM party members OF seeking to protect the image of the Party and army at the expense of Ugandans who were suffering at the hands of the army.
Kadaga was quoted saying; “Last year when I complained about the harassment of members at Lake Victoria by the UPDF, there is a Minister who came to my office telling me to stop talking about the army that we are spoiling their name. I told him you man, tell them to stop their atrocities that is when I will stop talking and I chased him out of my office. You can imagine someone coming threatening the Speaker not to talk.”
During her submission on the matter today, Natume said that despite the fact that the men have been in charge of the fishing and the women were left with the duty of smoking fish to get the income, the status quo changed with the coming on board of the Army on the waters, whose changes have left women jobless.
The Buvuma Island Legislator on Lake Victoria questioned why UPDF that was sent on the lake to curb illegal fishing has set its eyes on the banning of smoking of fish, even when the laws of the country provide for smoking al a legal method of preserving fish.
She threatened to undress in Parliament if nothing is done to uphold the economic rights of the women in Buvuma; “I feel like undressing here so that they can find out that we are dying, I can do it. I am thinking that I can address here over the magnitude because it is paining me. Can they help us because our women want to take children to school, our people are dying of poverty. Let them tell I can do anything that it takes so that my people can work and get money.”