THE ill-motivated move by Parliament to block Mrs Aisha Lubega from being appointed an electoral commissioner is a good point for debate on sharing juicy jobs in the country.
According to the majority "wisdom" in parliament's appointments committee, Aisha, wife of Hajj Badru Lubega, should not get the job because her husband is already head of another commission-the Education Service Commission.
And to add insult to injury, going by the MPs' warped logic, another kin of the good lady picks a hefty pay cheque as a Resident District Commissioner (RDC).
The verdict from MPs was thus that giving Aisha the job would be putting too much food on the plate of one family. It is a lot of baloney. And as minister Miria Matembe argued, it is reasoning informed by nothing other than petty jealousy.
Needless to say, the law makers should know better that the only qualifications for becoming an electoral commissioner, as per article 60 of the constitution, are having high moral character, proven integrity and experience in running public affairs.
So from which constitution did the often self-proclaimed champions of constitutionalism import another requirement that "one must not be married to another commissioner" in order to qualify as an EC member?
Even without going to the obvious merit of Mrs. Lubega as the headmistress of the top league Nabisunsa secondary school, it is clear that MPs are shamelessly trying to debase the supreme law of the land.
They are setting a bad a precedent, which says that capable people must be punished for their association with other successful people. Now if the legislators start by forbidding couples from holding equally top jobs in the land, where will they stop?
Soon we shall end up with parliament blocking people from being appointed ostensibly because so and so who is from their district, tribe or region holds another top job. This reasoning is a lot of hogwash and should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.
Given that nominees, like Lubega, get the blessing of the president before their names are forwarded to parliament, the imputation in the MPs' argument is that the head of state is favouring certain families. Nothing could be more ridiculous.
To expect the President to care about the marital liaisons or status of nominees, when competent people are drawn to his attention, is asking for too much. The President's concern is simply that one meets the constitutional requirements for appointment.
Some MPs may argue that they are simply trying to observe the Movement principle of accommodating nationals from all corners of the country and various interests groups in allotting key national jobs.
It is a noble principle indeed, but in no way does appointing a couple to parallel key positions ala the Lubegas, contradict it. If Mrs Lubega were to be seen as representing women, Muslims, Baganda, or whatever the case may be, in same vein her counter parts could be seen to be representing other interest groups. In other words, the Movement principle of broad-baseness is well reflected in the new EC.
But taking broad-baseness to the absurd level of denying competent couples key jobs is just that-absurd! Above all, competence should not be sacrificed at the altar of broad-baseness.
This brings to mind the often-running argument about the future occupancy of the top office in the land: the Presidency. One school of thought that one comes across goes that the presidency should rotate according to regions, religions and such other considerations.
There are, therefore, people who swear that after President Museveni, no person from western Uganda can become President because they have had their turn! On surface value, it sounds an appealing argument, but on close scrutiny it falls flat on its face.
One need not stretch this hollow argument too far to prove that ordinary Ugandans do not buy it. Experience shows that Ugandans indeed care about their regions and religions and tribes, but also know when their own is lousy.
In the 2001 presidential elections, the second choice of Ugandans for President was from western Uganda too: Kizza Besigye. Some Baganda, for example, rejected their own, in the person of Kibirige Mayanja, as second choice to Museveni, and went for Besigye. The easterners did like wise to Aggrey Awori.
The lesson from all this is that ordinary wananchi, clearly thinking ahead of their MPs, know a competent person when they see one. They will go for such a person regardless of where they come from, which religion they follow or who they are married to. Aisha Lubega is one such person and deserves the EC job. Ends
ONAPITO EKOMOLOIT TO THE POINT: Let Lubega have job if she merits