I think Museveni won in his absence. I was amazed how Amama Mbabazi answered when he was asked if he supported gays. He started attacking women who were not at the podium.
By Moses Byaruhanga
Watching the recently televised presidential debate, one can comfortably say that it was good that President Museveni never found time to come.
He was busy reaching the people at constituency level as opposed to other candidates, who go to district level. I arrive at this conclusion because of the level of analysis the candidates exhibited. What would President Museveni debate with those who responded?
I think Museveni won in his absence. I was amazed how Amama Mbabazi answered when he was asked if he supported gays. He started attacking women who were not at the podium. How could he talk about a woman who doesn't have children and does not like him, whose husband he doesn't know and doesn't have children and grandchildren like him?
One can know whom he was referring too but first the said woman is not the one who asked him the question, therefore, the attack on the indefensible person was unwarranted.
Secondly and most importantly, it is not a crime for a woman not to have a husband, children or grandchildren. That is God's calling. In my opinion, Mbabazi attacked single mothers who don't have husbands and those who have lost them. As pointed out earlier, not having children is not a crime.
There are couples who are married who don't have children and there are women who haven't had children for various reasons. Why attack them? Do you remember what happened when the Late Kafumbe Mukasa attacked his then opponent that he was a child of a single mother? All the single women turned against Kafumbe Mukasa.
Mbabazi instead of answering the question really despised women who have no husbands, have no children and grandchildren. I hope all the women out there who watched the debate noted this. If you didn't notice that is Mbabazi for you.
It is President Museveni and the NRM that respects women. The NRM under President Museveni emancipated women and gave them political power. They are now in Parliament with the Speaker, Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga, being a woman.
We have had a woman vice president in the past; many women are in Parliament and cabinet. Mbabazi was replaced as Secretary General by Kasule Lumumba, a woman. Women are represented in all local government councils.
President Museveni has implemented gender sensitive policies like immunisation of children, bringing water nearer the people, free education of children, having a health centre III at every sub county with a maternity ward to enable women deliver nearer their homes, etc. I call these gender sensitive policies because in our traditional setting, it is women who suffer most in absence of such policies. This is a big achievement.
President Museveni cannot despise women without children, husbands or grandchildren the way Mbabazi did in the debate. Instead, President Museveni would be talking about increasing the women fund so that each district receives sh2b annually to be accessed by women who want to engage in business.
Any woman accessing this money to get a loan to support their business will not be required to have collateral or security as many women don't own property to mortgage as security. Instead these will be character loans given to an individual woman or group of women on the basis of their being known locally where they are.
The interest will be minimal just to maintain management of the fund and the repayment period will be reasonable to enable one make a business sense with the borrowed money. So while Mbabazi is attacking a woman whose husband or children he doesn't know, which in a broader sense is an attack on the women folk, President Museveni on top of political emancipation of women is talking about economic empowerment of women through the women fund.
Mbabazi really performed poorly in the debate. When asked what he would do better which he couldn't do while in Government, he replied that the constitution vests executive powers in the President, hence, he could only do the President's calling.
What he didn't tell the public is that the same Constitution under Article 108 A (2) (a) says that "The Prime Minister shall be the Leader of Government Business in Parliament and be responsible for the coordination and implementation of Government policies across ministries, departments and other public institutions".
Mbabazi is, therefore, answerable, if Government policies were not implemented well. Mbabazi does not need to go visiting health units which have not yet been rehabilitated unless if they were rehabilitated during his time of coordination and implementation of Government policies and have become dilapidated since he ceased being the Prime Minister.
Mbabazi had all the time to visit all those health units while still Prime Minister, which he did not. The other excuse that cabinet which he chaired many is only advisory to the President should also be put in its context.
Is there a time where as chair of cabinet you agreed on some of the issues you think you can do now and the President refused to take the advice? If not the Mbabazi should stop hiding in the President that you could only do what the President wanted done.
The writer is special presidential assistant on political affairs