NRM people corrupt, feel entitled - minister Ecweru

Relief and Disaster Preparedness state minister Musa Ecweru has said many people in the ruling party, NRM have plundered the country's resources, accumulating wealth because they think they're entitled.

Ecweru was speaking in parliament today as MPs honoured Arua municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga. The NRM enthusiast was gunned down on Friday evening with his his brother also bodyguard, Saidi Congo Buga near Energo fuel station in Kirinnyabigo in Kawanda, Wakiso district. 

The session, which ran from 9:30am to 2pm, saw legislators across the political divide heaping praise on their former colleague. Prime minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda moved the motion for the resolution of parliament honour the deceased. It was seconded by leader of opposition Winnie Kiiza. 

Minister Musa Ecweru warned his NRM colleagues against feeling entitled

Ecweru said Abiriga remained humble despite doing all he did for his party.

"There are many of us in NRM when you do a small thing, you think you should be treated a special person. There are many of us in NRM who have accumulated unnecessary wealth because we think we are entitled. Abiriga has done what he has done but he remained humble....We as NRM need to humble ourselves," said Ecweru.

"We as NRM need to humble ourselves. If we keep this sense of entitlement we’ll ruin the country. And in putting Abiriga to rest, we need to emulate Abiriga. People can say anything, but he was what he was because he believed in what he believed in."

Ecweru also said the reason Abiriga was so patriotic and loved President Museveni so much was because he saw Museveni as the only unifying factor still holding the country together. He also said Abiriga was influenced by his horrible exile and hence wished no Ugandan to ever be forced into exile in current times.  

Speaker after speaker across the political divide eulogised Abiriga for his social, humble and honest character. 

Kiiza said there is need for government to take control of the security of the country. Kiiza told the house that during the State of the Nation address on Tuesday, they joked with Abiriga about crossing to each other's party, saying it is saddening to wake up and see him dead. 

Ibrahim Abiriga's body lying in state at parliament  

Junior Internal Affairs minister Obiga Kania said despite his different political positions, Abiriga did not steal the resources he was exposed to.

"With all the resources he was exposed to, all the positions he held, Abiriga died a poor man, the house he had in Kawanda was bought by a loan he picked from parliament when he joined. Others could have diverted money but he did not. He was never corrupt," said Kania.

First lady also Education and Sports minister Janet Museveni seemed to imply that Abiriga may have been killed for political reasons. She also said much as people have a right to blame government, they shouldn't forget that the responsibility of ensuring safety is in the hands of each Ugandan.

"There are those who have the capacity to hate Hon. Abiriga so much to the extent of mercilessly killing him in cold blood clearly shows us that the direction we’re taking is regrettable. And, I can’t stop hoping that indeed his death clearly becomes the mirror that now all of us, will hold to ourselves to search our hearts and ask ourselves the questions whether our daily work, our speech in an any way could have contributed anything to this hatred that is bringing this merciless murders in our country." she said.

Buhweju MP Francis Mwijukye lambasted President Museveni for claiming that the killers of Abiriga were cowards and idiots who hate the ruling party. Mwijukye said Abiriga's killing should be a wakeup call for the authorities to improve the security situation of every Ugandan.

"Security of all Ugandans should be our major concern. If we are still being killed by idiots and cowards as being said, then we are not serious. These are not idiots or cowards, these are serious killers. There's a big problem," he said.

It was a sombre mood in parliament as MPs paid their respects 

Speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga showed to MPs what she claimed was a social media message reportedly posted earlier in March warning that Abiriga would be killed in the first week of June 2018. We have however since established that it is highly likely that the posts were backdated to make the post appear genuine, hours after the MP was gunned down. 

Andrew Baryayanga, the Kabale Municipality MP, says Abiriga had an unquestionable loyalty to the NRM party. He said Abiriga will be remembered as man who served the country diligently in different capacities.

Hood Katurama Kiribedda, who represented the Muslim parliamentary caucus, said Abiriga had the rare attributes of humility and calmness, adding that the deceased practiced what he preached.

Ismail Ogama Alli, the Madi Lower County MP in Arua, said Abiriga would do anything that works in the interest of his people.

He said Abiriga joined the rebels in West Nile to fight against bad leadership, adding that the region has lost a good man, whose only crime was truthfulness, being a common man and a man of distinguished leadership.

Abiriga's body has been airlifted to Arua where his and his brother will be laid to rest at their ancestral home in Lukudu village in Rhino camp sub county in Lower Madi constituency. He is survived by a widow and nine children.
Information on the official website of parliament shows that Abiriga was born on May 6, 1956. He has been a legislator and serving on the Committee of Defense and Internal Affairs. He holds a Certificate in Administrative Law from Uganda Christian University and Certificate in Public Administration from the same institution issued in 2008 and 2015 respectively.

Abiriga also has a Certificate in Public Administration and Management from Makerere University issued in 2015. Abiriga served as the resident district commissioner for Arua for 12 years from 2001 before he was transferred to Yumbe. He resigned from the post to contest for a parliamentary seat, which he won in February 2016.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd