PARLIAMENT | NAMBOOZE | POLITICS
KAMPALA – The chair of the Parliamentary Committee on State Guarantees and Implementation, Betty Namboze (MP of Mukono Municipality), clashed with other members during the committee’s inaugural meeting on Monday.
The disagreements arose after Namboze told its members that if the committee met President Yoweri Museveni, she would apologize.
“I would like to tell you from the outset that if our committee is to meet President Museveni, I will not be there. We should ask one of the members to lead the team to meet him,” Namboze told the committee members as they listened intently to her.
She told members she is still ill from the pain inflicted on her during the 2017 brawl in parliament, when soldiers from the Special Forces Command (SFC) entered the chambers of parliament.
The soldiers forcibly expelled MPs who tried to block the constitutional amendment to lift the presidential age limit.
However, Namboze’s comments did not go down well with the ruling MPs of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), the majority in the committee, in particular, who pleaded with her to be politically tolerant.
Namutumba women’s MP Mariam Naigaga promised that as NRM MPs, who make up the majority in the committee, they would work with the committee’s leadership to carry out her mandate, but expressed disgust at Namboze’s unwillingness to meet with the president.
“We will do well as a committee if we remove politics from what we will do and focus on working for the good of all Ugandans,” Naigaga said.
Bokora County MP John Baptist Ngoya said: “I understand the pain you have been put through, but as Nelson Mandela did and as a Catholic, you must forgive. It will be important for you to come with us to meet the President.”
Amudat MP Betty Chelain Louke also expressed disappointment at Namboze’s hesitation to meet the president, but he is central to government guarantees and implementation.
“The president is not a bad man. It’s just that you’ve been far from him. We’ll beg you to meet him for the good of the country,” Louke said.
Responding to their concerns, Namboze said: “I don’t think if you want to get the best out of Museveni, you should send Namboze. We have many members on the committee who can represent us. Museveni may think I’ve started to antagonize him. And he never apologized for the pain the soldiers caused me.”
After Parliament’s committees were assembled and approved last Tuesday, the Government Guarantee and Implementation Committee was the first to convene a meeting to plan how to implement its mandate.
Commission focuses on NRM manifesto
Namboze instructed the committee clerk, Jacqueline Oidu, to write to all the secretary generals of the parties represented in parliament to present their manifestos to the committee.
However, she later clarified that more attention would be paid to the manifestos for the ruling NRM, which has a social contract with Ugandans.
“We will especially need the NRM manifesto as the governing party and the National Unity Platform (NUP) as the opposition leader.
But the main focus of the commission will be to ensure that the social contract that the NRM has made with Ugandans in the form of the pledges in the manifesto is fulfilled,” she said.
Namboze said that since the committee is tasked with monitoring and evaluating government commitments across all sectors, it should work closely with all other sectoral committees to ensure that government commitments are met to improve service delivery.
She was appointed by NUP to head the committee which was replaced by Kalungu West MP Joseph Ssewungu. She expressed her disappointment that the committee in the previous Parliament never presented a report. She promised that she would do her best to ensure that the committee becomes the most vibrant in the House.