"That is just her way of showing off. She is not friendly; she is very nasty."
The State Minister for Animal industry Joy Kabatsi has expressed anger at the actions of her long-time archrival in Ssembabule district Anifa Kawooya during the swearing in ceremony of ex-officios last week.
Kabatsi told New Vision that Kawooya's behaviour in a fully-packed Parliament last Tuesday smacked of hypocrisy.
Just as Kabatsi took to the rostrum to take the oath as an ex-officio member of parliament, Kawooya rushed from her seat and joined her, trying to show love for her.
Kabatsi, who is a former head of legal department at State House, ignored her and didn't even shake her hand.
Then Kawooya tried to carry her handbag, but the Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa reportedly refused to give it to her.
'She is not friendly'
Kabatsi was visibly not amused by Kawooya's actions and as she walked to the deputy Speaker (Jacob Oulanyah), she kept raising both hands in the air, celebrating success.
Oualanyah said he had witnessed honourable members coming together (to his seat) in the House yet they could hardly walk together in their district. "That means this country is bigger than us," Oulanyah remarked.
However, Kabatsi, who has since 2006 been challenging Kawooya's academic papers in vain, said her political rival's love antics towards her meant nothing to her.
"That is just her way of showing off. She is not friendly; she is very nasty. She is just pretentious and I wasn't amused at all. She was busy buying MPs on appointment committee to reject me. I don't believe in such hypocrisy," Kabatsi said.
Anifa Kawooya tells Kabatsi to play her part as a minister and leave her to serve her electorate
The minister said if they are to work for Ssembabule as leaders they have to be clear. "The President wiped my tears when he brought me to parliament. They [Kawooya and co] should accept it. They don't wish us well; just pray for us.”
‘She was alone’
However, in a separate interview, Kawooya argued that she joined Kabatsi at the podium after realising that the minister was there alone.
"As a senior cadre and Ssembabule Woman MP I wanted to show solidarity. Other ministers had MPs from their areas [standing by their side] but she had nobody and I couldn't abandon her. It was my responsibility as a senior cadre," Kawooya said.
She implored Kabatsi to play her part as a minister and leave her to serve her electorate. "Now that the President settled the game, she should work as a public servant and leave me to represent the people. There is still a difference between her and me. She is in public service, I am in politics," she argued.
Kawooya won the 2016 elections with a difference of 10,747 votes, but Kabatsi claimed the polls were marred by irregularities and gross ballot stuffing. She petitioned the High Court in Masaka which unfortunately dismissed her petition on grounds that it was wrongly filed.
However, Kawooya, who has represented Ssembabule district as a Woman MP since 2001, had battled it out with Kabatsi in 2006 for the same seat and Kawooya was declared winner.
Kabatsi adduced evidence that there were malpractices that cost her victory, prompting court to cancel Kawooya's election.
In the resultant hotly-contested by-election in 2008, Kabatsi was again defeated and challenged the academic papers of Kawooya in vain.