KAMPALA – Legislators from the ruling National Resistance Movement –NRM party declined to participate in the Buganda Parliamentary Caucus elections on Wednesday – citing inadequate planning.
Only nine of the 46 NRM MPs from the Central region led by Kiboga East MP, Keffa Kiwanuka showed up ahead of the election and accused their colleagues from the National Unity Platform -NUP party, the biggest opposition party in parliament for ring fencing top caucus positions for its members.
Fifty-five of the 57 NUP legislators in parliament are from the Central region. On Tuesday, NUP legislators endorsed the Butambala County MP, Muwanga Kivumbi as their preferred choice for the Buganda Parliamentary Caucus chairperson’s seat. They also endorsed the Busujju County MP, David Kalwanga for the position of caucus treasurer, Ntenjeru South MP – Independent – Patrick Nsanja, secretary, Mityana Woman MP – Joyce Bagala, publicity secretary and Bukomansimbi North MP, Dr. Christine Ndiwalana, External Affairs secretary.
Th e situation left only five positions for NRM, the Forum for Democratic Change – FDC and Democratic Party-DP legislators. As members from different political parties converged on Wednesday to vote the caucus leadership in the conference hall at parliament, NRM members snubbed the event. They however walked in shortly after the exercise chaired by Busiro East MP, Medard Lubega Sseggona had started. The caucus constitution mandates legal advisors to preside over the voting exercise, which saw Yusuf Nsibambi, the Mawokota South MP and his Busiro East counterpart, Medard Lubega Sseggona steer the process.
However, the Kiboga East MP, Keffa Kiwanuka informed the meeting that NRM MPs had reservations about the exercise. He called for the suspension of the exercise to allow members to get to know each other and get induction on the purpose of the grouping. He also raised a complaint about some of the members under their political party who had met earlier to endorse candidates.
This prompted Sseggona to ask a few MPs from different political groups to step aside and discuss how to move forward. Shortly after her return, Aisha Kabanda, the Butambala Woman MP reported that a team of eight MPs had resolved that the voting continues and that positions be distributed across the political divide.
She also reported that the members had proposed that NRM takes up the positions of caucus vice-chairperson and treasurer.
The members adopted the proposal only for the NRM MPs to push for more discussions, which was granted. After the discussion that lasted for over 20 minutes, Kiwanuka reported that the NRM MPs were still not contented, and hence needed more time to orient themselves on the purpose of the caucus and the entire election process. Kiwanuka said that NRM MPs had resolved not to front any candidate and committed to stand by the new leadership and caucus positions.
However, the Butambala County MP, Muwanga Kivumbi said that NRM members were only scared of the tyranny of numbers from NUP. Sseggona then ruled that the voting exercise had to continue. The exercise saw all new caucus executive leaders declared unopposed. They are Muwanga Kivumbi (NUP) as Chairperson, deputized by Buikwe South MP Dr. Lulume Bayiga (DP), Busujju County MP – David Kalwanga (NUP), Treasurer, Ntenjeru South MP – Independent – Patrick Nsanja, General Secretary, Mityana Woman MP – Joyce Bagala – NUP- Publicity Secretary and Mawokota South MP – Yusuf Nsibambi –FDC – Secretary for mobilisation.
The others are Mukono South MP Fred Kayondo – DP – Secretary for Welfare, Bukomansimbi North MP, Dr. Christine Ndiwalana – NUP- External Affairs – Secretary, Mukono Woman MP, Hanifa Nabukeera – NUP – Secretary for Cabinet Affairs and Katikamu North MP, Dennis Ssekabira – NUP- Secretary for Cultural Affairs. Shortly after the elections, Muwanga Kivumbi said they would focus on protecting Buganda’s land and environmental conservation among other things.
He also pledged to ensure that all Buganda caucus members move as a team.
Diana Mutasingwa, the Minister of State in charge of the vice president’s office said that NRM MPs would work with the new Buganda caucus leadership to push issues promoting Buganda.
Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition asked MPs from Buganda to be united and get solutions to the problems affecting the region.