A verbal war between the two politicians transpired during the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue at Collin Hotel, Mukono.
By Moses Mulondo
MUKONO - Drama unfolded on Friday as the minister for lands and urban development Daudi Migereko attempted to dispel allegations by the former DP president Dr. Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere that President Yoweri Museveni is already using state resources to campaign for the 2016 elections.
This verbal war between the two politicians transpired during the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) at Collin Hotel in Mukono.
While presenting a paper on campaigns and money, Dr. Ssemogerere alleged that in the tours the president is making in various parts of the country, he has already stated using state resources to campaign for his presidency for 2016 – one year ahead of the official start of the process in the second half of next year.
Interrupting Dr. Ssemogerere in the middle of his presentation, Migereko said, “It is not true that the President is campaigning. He is simply doing his work as the president of the nation to ensure that the services he promised in the manifesto are well implemented.”
Giving the example of the Northern region that has been overwhelmingly voting against the NRM until recently in 2011, the minister, who was representing NRM in the conference, explained that no matter what a leader does he can be denied votes as long as people are not satisfied with his/her performance.
Ssemogerere also alleged that the recent NRM Kyankwanzi retreat had resolved to reduce the powers of parliament in vetting presidential appointees, transfer power from the party Delegates Conference to the national chairman to appoint the Secretary General.
But the lands minister immediately rose up and dismissed the allegations, arguing that the Kyankwanzi retreat never passed such resolutions.
They also disagreed on the sh80b in the current national budget which was allocated to the president for presidential donations, which Ssemogerere highlighted as one of the ways the incumbent president uses public funds to his political advantage.
Migereko quipped that out of the sh80b, only sh40b is meant for presidential donations, sh30b is for state scholarships and sh10b is for classified expenditures.
Arguing that all Uganda’s past elections have not been free and fair, Dr. Ssemogerere encouraged both the NRM and the opposition to intensify dialogue efforts through a joint committee to result into implementation of constitutional reforms which will result into an electoral process agreeable to all the stakeholders.
Makerere University lecturer Prof. Sabiti Makara called for an amendment to ensure both the public and private media give equal space to all the candidates during elections.
The conference was opened by the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi who assured the opposition and other stakeholders that government is committed to implementing electoral and constitutional reforms for a more credible electoral process as soon as possible before the 2016 elections.
Closing the conference on Friday, the participants, drawn from various political parties, civil society and development partners, made various recommendations for reforms.
The reforms included:
an independent electoral commission agreeable to all stakeholders, clean and transparent voters register, stopping commercialization of politics, stopping incumbent leaders from using state resources, safeguarding the independence of the judiciary, the parliament, and police, and operationalize funding for all credible political parties among others.
Migereko, Ssemogerere clash over reforms