KAMPALA — A story, “Busoga Prime Minister Muvawala clashes with NRM Secretary General Kasule Lumumba”, has been doing the rounds on social media since Wednesday.
The story which was first written by little known bloggers; Ms Juliette Gaswaga and Rodney Mponye, triggering off serious debates on social media and on FM stations in Busoga was reportedly based on a petition written by the Busoga NRM Youths, who reportedly questioned Owek Dr Muvawala’s decision to support Mr Ivan Tibenkana, a former Minister in the Kingdom, who is contesting for the Mayoral seat of Jinja on a Democratic Party (DP) ticket, along with Mr Robert Kanusu of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), Dr Frank Nabwiso of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and one Alton Kasolo of the National Unity Platform (NUP).
First of all, it is difficult to establish the authenticity of the petition as Ms Gaswaga never indicated who the signatories to the petition are, when they wrote it and to whom it was addressed.
It is however alleged that Owek Dr Muvawala had warned the electorate against the campaigns being conducted by Ms Justine Kasule Lumumba and his Deputy, Mr Ahmed Osman Noor.
The alleged petitioners claimed that Owek Dr Muvawala is a known confidant of the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, who is also the 1st National Vice Chairperson of the NRM and therefore a member of CEC of the party. They argue that by backing a DP candidate, Owek Dr Muvawala is undermining Mr Kadaga efforts in strengthening the party.
First of all, there is no public record whatsoever, that Owek Dr Muvawala has ever openly solicited for support for Mr Tibenkana, but even if he had done so, it would be within his rights to support a candidate of his choice, more so when such a candidate is a childhood friend.
Owek Dr Muvawala and Mr Tibenkana are village mates having been born and raised in Kivubuka in Budondo.
Being a former Minister, he would naturally expect the backing of an institution to which he rendered voluntary service.
Uganda is long past that stage where cultural leaders should sit by and watch as political offices that so heavily impact on the livelihoods of our citizens are up for grabs. It is incumbent upon such political leaders to give much necessary direction.
Secondly, it smacks of double standards on the part of Owek Dr Muvawala’s accusers for any of them to suggest that he should either take leave or resign from the office of Prime Minister.
Mr Ahmed Osman Noor, has been Second Deputy Prime Minister of Busoga for more than seven years now. During the 2016 general elections and the Jinja East by-elections during which Mr Nathan Igeme Nabeta, was defeated, Mr Osman Ahmed Noor openly supported the NRM presidential candidate, Mr Yoweri Museveni and was also the money bags’ man in charge of Mr Igeme Nabeta’s campaign. Why has no one ever deemed it necessary to compel Mr Osman Ahmed Noor to resign, but find it convenient to ask Owek Dr Muvawala to resign?
Recently, the State Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mr Isaac Isanga Musumba, came out openly in Kamuli to declare that he would be supporting his wife, Ms Proscovia Salaamu Musumba, in her quest to replace the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, as the MP for Kamuli district Women. Ms Salaamu Musumba is the Vice Chairperson of FDC. Not once did we see the NRM youth petition Mr Museveni over Mr Musumba’s actions. Another case of double standards.
The youths in their alleged petition claimed that Owek Dr Muvawala had attacked Ms Kasule Lumumba as “a mere woman” who should not be deciding for people.
I would be very surprised if Dr Muvawala ever stooped that low. He is a family man, who was born and raised with many girl children in his family. He has been very highly exposed during his illustrious academic and professional career, and sits with a number of high profile female personalities in both the Busoga Kingdom and the National Planning Authority (NPA). Surely such chauvinistic tendencies would have come to the fore much earlier.
The argument that Dr Muvawala should have rallied behind Ms Kasule and helped her to deliver is a contradiction in itself. Why? It would appear that it would have been okay for him to campaign if he were doing so on the side of the NRM, but not okay when he appears to be campaigning on the side of the opposition. That is hypocrisy of the highest order.
The allusion to “internal rifts between Dr Muvawla and his Deputy” and the controversies surrounding kingdom land, only point to the fact that this so called petition, in which the alleged petitioners warn that Dr Muvawala’s job at NPA might be at stake, is not about politics and breach of the laws and regulations guiding the conduct of cultural leaders, but about other issues that we might not be able to lay our hands on.
Like Mr Rodeny Mponye indicated on Wednesday, this might be another case of the PHD (Pull Him Down) syndrome for which the Basoga are known.