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Kadaga: Mbabazi is targeting me

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and Amama Mbabazi

Parliament speaker Rebecca Kadaga has again accused presidential aspirant John Patrick Amama Mbabazi of trying to unseat her as woman Member of Parliament for Kamuli.

Appearing on Radio One’s Spectrum show on Thursday evening, Kadaga accused Mbabazi of fronting candidates against powerful politicians in Busoga sub-region.

“He [Mbabazi] has people he wants to unseat, but I’m his biggest target,” she said.

Last July, Kadaga publicly accused some politicians in western Uganda, mainly Mbabazi, of meddling in Busoga affairs.

“No, but why should another tribe decide for another tribe? The Basoga are a tribe of four million people. Why should a Mukiga decide for us or a Munyankore for that matter?” Kadaga said.

She suspects that Deborah Mwesigwa Mugerwa, her political rival for the Kamuli woman parliamentary seat, is backed by Mbabazi. But Mwesigwa recently distanced herself from Mbabazi. She told The Observer in an interview that she had neither met nor received any support from the former prime minister.

However, it is not only Kadaga crying foul. Kahinda Otafiire, the minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, recently also accused Mbabazi of fronting what he described as ‘a stupid fellow’ to unseat him.

On the same talk show, Kadaga expressed her reservations about the rising numbers of members of parliament.  Recently, parliament approved municipalities and districts, effectively increasing the number of MPs to over 400 in the next parliament.

“More MPs are coming. So, we shall face the same problem I faced in 2011 of getting them space. So, where are these members going to sit?” she wondered.

In the 9th parliament, some MPs shared offices, before parliament rented more space at Bauman house. Recently President Museveni expressed a bit of shock at the size of the parliamentary chamber. He described it as ‘a kafunda’ (ramshackle shelter) when he accompanied Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to address parliament. Kadaga said parliament was meant to accommodate 90 MPs, but it now has 375.

Kadaga said the parliamentary commission plans to build a new chamber in the northern wing of parliament.

“It will have capacity to accommodate 500 people,” she said.

“We are not the ones who create these districts; it is government that brings these proposals, but also the population makes these demands; so, the population should also stop making these demands,” she said.

On the programme, Kadaga spent a lot of time explaining what she has done during her tenure as speaker especially for Busoga sub-region. For instance, she lobbied for Namasagali to become a public university in 2017 and Jinja getting a regional airport.

She also wants women to share positions on 50-50 percent basis. She said by the time she was elected speaker of parliament, most chairpersons of committees in parliament were men. She said she pushed for an amendment of rules of procedure to provide that 40 percent of committee chairpersons be women.

Asked about her presidential ambitions, Kadaga responded: “Was it me? Or it was the people pushing for it? Anyway, one day, I will get there.” 

ssekika@observer.ug

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