A disturbing report has it that the sacked Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Winnie Kiiza, is allegedly emulating President Museveni in her campaign to stay in her office.
Although her own party members insist this is the path she has chosen, edge.ug could not independently verify Kiiza’s alleged change of heart.
On Tuesday evening, Kiiza and her group met at Fang Fang Hotel in Kampala to forge a way forward.
Kiiza was, according to sources, escorted by sacked chairperson of the committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase), Abdu Katuntu. Also present was Hon Cecilia Ogwal and Hon Odonga Otto.
She had earlier promised to use all means possible to stay in her office even after FDC communicated to her as she had demanded.
The group will reveal the resolution of the meeting wednesday afternoon.
FDC members in a rage
A staunch Forum for Democratic Change [FDC] member, Moses Atocon Atyekwo, who is based in the diaspora, had sounded the alarm on social media:
“Now our own MPs are on overdrive to destroy the hands that feeds them. You see these ungrateful leaders after being elevated are now trying to kick the ladder they used to climb up,” Atocon wrote.
He was referring to the Tuesday plenary that was pushed to today, Wednesday having failed to take off because of the chaos caused by FDC party president Patrick Amuriat’s reshuffle.
“Because the junta regime is in cohorts with reshuffled Hon Winnie Kiiza, alongside Hon Katuntu, Hon Imat Cecilia to try and frustrate FDC from implementing the leadership changes in the parliament,” Atocon noted.
He added: “This their pathetic excuse, according to my sources, they have told Museveni if changes are effected then Besigye will have taken over parliament and defiance will be the order of the day and that the speaker will not be able to manage the house. Those are your elected leaders refusing to leave positions. If they proceed with this sabotage I will spill the beans against them.”
FDC iron ladies Ingrid Turinawe and Kristeen Behimbisa said they were not surprised when they heard Kiiza was applying all sorts of tactics to stay in power.
“I now clearly recall vividly what Chris Baryomunsi told Miria Matembe on TV how actually it’s the opposition that covertly move at night to get envelopes from Museveni,” Behimbisa wrote on social media Wednesday morning.
Matembe then called Baryomunsi ekifiire [fool], and threatened to sue him. All this happened on TV in full glare of the public. Up-to-day Matembe, a lawyer herself, has not gone to court, Behimbisa noted.
“I guess these (The Winnie Kiiza’s) are the people who go to state house at night to pick envelopes Dr Baryomunsi was talking about. Ozanyisa obudde!!! [you joke with time!],” she wrote.
She went physical criticising former party president Mugisha Muntu’s slogan: “country before self”, suggesting Kiiza was putting herself before her party and her country.
“Mbu country before self! Country before self my foot. They can’t give what they don’t have.”
According to Behimbisa, Kasese Municipality MP Robert Centenary has been on Spectrum saying “our argument for voting Dr. Besigye as flag bearer was that he is a star performer but we have failed to apply the same principle on Winnie Kizza”.
She wrote: “Centenary please be informed that the two are different. Rt Hon Winnie Kiiza has been occupying an elected office, however much she excelled, change is supposed to be effected. On the other hand, flag bearer is not an office, it’s not a position of comfort, there are no benefits. And it was in our assessment that doctor had performed and could still carry on with the duties, he didn’t impose himself on us. Had we voted him out and gave in to his pressure then the two scenarios would compare.”
Behimbisa says Centenary wants to draw in the people of Kasese, that they are disappointed.
“Centenary should be reminded that change is inevitable. That is how things are done in FDC. In 2011 to 2016, Sironko was all blue, this did not stop Gen Muntu from dropping Rt Hon Nandala Mafabi as LoP, the party moved on.”
Why Kizza can’t let go?
NBS television reporter Joseph Sabiti says as the wave sweeps across the FDC with fresh appointments and resistance from those that have been replaced, questions arise as to what comes with holding these positions.
For example, why is it a big deal to be leader of opposition, commissioner or even chairperson of a committee?
He cites a lead car, security detail as one of the benefits of being the LoP. LoP has an office, full funded budget, official vehicle with a driver.
The LoP and a chief whip are entitled to foreign trips, space to speak in parliament at any point, can designate members to committees etc.
Parliament on standstill
The long anticipated Tuesday parliamentary sitting that was scheduled to handle the approval of the new Opposition leadership in parliament was postponed at the last minute causing mixed reactions amongst legislators.
However, sources in the corridors of parliament indicated that the absence of the Speaker to chair the Tuesday sitting was as a result of the intelligence that a section of legislators had scheduled to cause a stampede to block the approval of the new Opposition leadership in Parliament.
One of the sources of criticism is the calibre of MPs selected to occupy these positions.
The biggest victim of this criticism is Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munyagwa who was appointed to chair the Committee on Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), who, critiques say is not fit to steer such a technical committee.
Munyagwa replaces Bugweri MP Abdu Katuntu, a lawyer by profession who has been in Parliament for 17 years.