There have been a series of NRM parliamentary caucus meetings initiated by President Yoweri Museveni to try and regain the direction and control of a rowdy, indiscipline, and perhaps genuine Parliament.
By Ofwono Opondo
Politically stung by its own internal deficiencies and malaise, a tiny but vocal opposition, and opportunistic civil society groups, the NRM party and executive seem to have woken up from the post-election slumber to refocus its energies into legislative business in Parliament.
There have been a series of NRM parliamentary caucus meetings initiated by President Yoweri Museveni to try and regain the direction and control of a rowdy, indiscipline, and perhaps genuine Parliament. I wrote last year the fight against indiscipline and incompetence especially within the executive was noble and should be supported by NRM MPs.
The un-ending squabbles in the NRM caucus leaves no doubts that executive still seem reluctant to accept a new political dispensation of full and timely transparency even to its own members.
However, the mainstream NRM should remain alert for possible proxy ‘wars’ and that should become evident MPs were waging an principled political wars, the rank and file of NRM must close ranks to defeat that was. And now after almost six months of granting the benefit of the doubt to NRM new MPs, we in Urtaf believe it is time for the party to identify, isolate, expose and neutralise the internal detractors.
The detractors shouldn’t be given any more political room to foment a creeping internal political coup under the guise of parliamentary democratic struggles, yet their real motives are to divert, weaken, and create an opportunity for the opposition to filibuster and subterfuge, which could lead to NRM’s failure to deliver its election promises to Ugandans thus declining in or losing the next elections altogether.
Most MPs in the Ninth Parliament appear to have thrown all caution through the windows, assumed airs of self-importance, superiority, and knowledge, through brazen arrogance in the futile hope of cowing every branch of the state to bend to the greedy and often dubious motives and goals.
The NRM MPs in particular had fallen victim to the vicious and malignant opposition, who took their silent obedience to party rules for meekness, and ignorance to bolster the false notion that Parliament was supreme in all spheres.
Now the NRM caucus has struck with force hopefully reasonable enough through the on-going debate on the amendments to Parliament’s rules of procedures to correct what could have gone wrong in past legislative matters, or indeed what may go wrong in the future.
The opposition and civil society critics had seized on some of the unprincipled, opportunistic, arrogant, and ignorant divisions within the NRM group to deepen, and spread discord and apathy, which they hoped would reach irreconcilable levels soon, to the opposition’s glorious advantage.
In that psyche, both the NRM malcontents and opposition in Parliament had combined to posture as the true defenders of our collective national interests, which they claimed Museveni and his executive were flagrantly abusing. That group had almost reached a level of political terrorism, gangsterism, and legislative tyranny for the executive (ministers and public servants) to oppose them even when they are glaringly wrong
Pundits are hopeful that a combination of the amendments to make the rules of procedures more flexible, the recent constitutional court ruling trashing MPs’ behaviours, and internal discipline within government will check parliamentary excesses.
MPs had made it appear that miscarriage of procedure, and justice by Parliament is sacrosanct and not challengeable. It has been the reason MPs were arguing that resolutions of Parliament pertaining to ministers and the government policies even when discovered to be wrong, made in error or unworkable they were unwilling to entertain a reconsideration.
These MPs and critics were oblivious that even the constitution of Uganda which is the supreme law is subject to amendments. They were also oblivious that even Supreme Court judgment can be subjected to a review by itself, as much as judgments from lower courts of law can be varied including being expunged from public records.
And the resolutions pertaining to the current debate in the petroleum sector can be re-considered, although the problem is that again, the executive is either ill-intentioned or just lackluster.
MPs need to appreciate that we are just building a democracy which requires a lot political patience and flexibility for Uganda to move forward.
The writer is the NRM deputy spokesperson and leader of URTAF, a private think tank
NRM finally wakes-up for duty