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Kategaya Attacks Ministers

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th March 2004 03:00 AM

FORMER internal affairs minister Eriya Kategaya yesterday attacked state minister for Luweero Triangle Prof. Semakula Kiwanuka over the proposed constitutional changes.

FORMER internal affairs minister Eriya Kategaya yesterday attacked state minister for Luweero Triangle Prof. Semakula Kiwanuka over the proposed constitutional changes.

By Hamis Kaheru
And Milton Olupot

FORMER internal affairs minister Eriya Kategaya yesterday attacked state minister for Luweero Triangle Prof. Semakula Kiwanuka over the proposed constitutional changes.
Semakula carried out a study for the Cabinet on constitutional term-limits for presidents. President Yoweri Museveni praised the study last year.
Ssemakula also campaigned for the proposal to give more powers to a president to dissolve Parliament. This was during a meeting of the Movement’s National Executive Committee at Kyankwanzi earlier this year.
Speaking as a discussant at a workshop for MPs at Hotel Africana, Kampala, yesterday, Kategaya described Semakula as “a professor of history with no sense of history at all.”
“What professor of history is this? When he is talking, you ask, ‘is this man a professor of history?’” Kategaya said amid applause from the audience who included MPs, diplomats, party and civil society leaders.
The workshop, under the theme, “Peaceful political transition in Africa,” was organised by the parliamentary committee on legal affairs and funded by the European Union.
Kategaya said one of Africa’s major problems was failure to learn from history.
“There is a tendency for leaderships to think the world has started with them and to think that once they are not around everything collapses,” he said.
Kategaya attacked state minister for parliamentary affairs Hope Mwesigye for saying the Parliamentary Advocacy Forum (PAFO), Reform Agenda and multipartyists should not go to Kabale to canvass for support. She equated the groups to AIDS and that they were bent on destroying the Movement.
“We should be tolerant. If you are saying the Movement is strong, why don’t you want people to listen to other views? If we are 40 million people how do you expect us to have the same views. That would be a dead society,” he said.
Kategaya said it was dangerous for leaders like Mwesigye and Busia RDC George Bageya, who should be teaching people tolerance, to go around preaching intolerance.
Bageya recently said opposition politicians should not go to Busoga.
“The culture of tolerance must be cultivated deliberately in the minds of all Ugandans,” he said.
Justice George Kanyeihamba, who presented a paper on constitutionalism, advised MPs not to look at individuals when addressing constitutional matters. “Today’s leader might be good but by accident tomorrow we could have someone like (the late dictator Idi) Amin. If we had Amin, how many of you would be saying let us change the constitution so that these people (presidents) can have as many terms as possible?” he asked. He advised MPs to legislate for the worst possible scenario.
Kanyeihamba, who said he could not express opinions on political matters, said though he had heard that people have the power to change constitutions, he was not aware of a country where important decisions were made by peasants.
Makerere University academic Prof. Frederick Jjuuko warned MPs against lifting term limits. He said constitutionalism could not be built on individuals but organisations and institutions.
Jjuuko said the Movement had killed political organisations to build its own strength, which (strength) would not last.
“You cannot be strong if your strength depends on destroying others,” he said. John Byabagambi (Ibanda South), who introduced himself as a Movementist, said he was concerned that people with opposing views and anti third-term proponents were not allowed to organise freely.
“The only way the Movement will continue leading this country for many years is to tolerate the views of others,” he said.
Maj. Bright Rwamirama (Isingiro North) said nation building was not achieved through individuals who are indispensable but institutions that stand the test of time.
Kategaya said the debate about political transition was focussed on an individual and not the Movement as an organisation. He attributed this to a “feudal mentality” characterised by the tendency to substitute a leader with an organisation.
He said people were talking about Museveni rather than the Movement. He said there was talk that if Museveni left there would be a problem. “Individuals contribute but it is organisations that sustain systems,” Kategaya said.
“If there is an organisation why should there be trouble identifying a leader. If the Movement is strong it should be able to look for a strong person to replace the current leadership,” he said.
He said MPs could be bribed to change the constitution to satisfy some people’s interests. “It is a serious problem if parliament can be bribed to change positions,” he said.
He said people would lose faith in peaceful transition if they got a feeling that leaders do not want to leave power. “This parliament must ensure we have a president handing over in peace,” he said as he urged MPs not to change the Constitution.
“We have never had a peaceful transition. I was hoping the Movement would bring a peaceful transition so people come and however popular they are when time comes they leave,” he said.
Kategaya said those who refuse to leave power could not ensure the future stability of a country.
Ends

Kategaya Attacks Ministers

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