Following a recent Buganda caucus meeting that turned rowdy and ended in a disarray, Many Baganda faithfuls are making calls towards their MPs to make reforms aimed at ensuring they serve the kingdom’s interests better.
Yusuf Nsibambi, Kampala District Land Board chairman is one of those who have expressed disgust at what he called one of the worst performing caucuses in Uganda’s Parliament, malady a failure he attributed to political machinations from the Central government.
Nsibambi blamed the current chairperson of the Committee Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi for using politics to divert the caucus.
“What did you expect when you elected a staunch member of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) government to become the Chairman of the Caucus?” Asked Nsibambi?
Nsibambi regretted the fact the caucus has failed to deliver the much-needed desires of most Baganda voters.
“Time and again members have instead been giving precedence to the NRM government interests since a good number of them belong to the ruling party,” added Nsibambi.
“Even the only visit the caucus was scheduled at one time to the State House over some of Buganda’s interests was immediately abandoned after some members began receiving anonymous calls,” he complains.”
Nsibambi blamed President Museveni for deliberately interfearing into the affairs of appointing leaders of the caucus including Tim Lwanga and Kiwanda Suubi.
Former Presidential candidate Abed Bwanika on the other hand blamed poor performance of the caucus to selfishness on the part of Buganda MPs.
Commending the kingdom as one of Uganda’s most accommodative societies, Bwanika argues that it has always accorded its identity freely to whomever wants especially those living within its boundaries including MPs regardless of whether they are loyal to the kingdom or not.
Much as that may be favoring Buganda in both numerical and economic terms, observers however argue that it creates a weak point in the caucus’ lobby especially during crunch moments when members must give its issues priority ahead of other issues including their political parties and religions among others.
“It is only in Buganda caucus where you can find political party interests take precedence over caucus’s kingdom interests” Bwanika laments contrasting the (Buganda) caucus with the Northern Uganda Parliamentary Association which in his view is one of the performing caucuses in the House.
Bwanika also blames “Buganda retardation in development compared to other areas such as Ankore” which he says has benefited from lobby groups which pester government to develop its milk economy “by providing milk coolers.”
Bwanika was supported by Kalungu MP Joseph Ssewungu who pointed out that Namirembe Saida Bbumba and Ruth Nankabirwa allegedly misappropriated funds meant for milk coolers in Buganda region during the last 9th Parliament.
But former presidential candidate Elton Joseph Mabirizi thinks that the Kingdom’s Prime Minister Charles Peter Mayiga is also to blame.
He opines that the Katikkiro has not been available to direct members of the caucus on how to push and defend Buganda’s interests.
“This caucus ought to be one of Katikkiro’s hand tools in persuing Buganda’s agenda and he should therefore sit down and spell out Buganda’s positions on a wide range of issues to be pursued by members in the 10th Parliament, ” Mabirizi says
But while the Buganda caucus is taking the battering, The Sunrise learnt that even other caucuses in the House are taking similar criticisms complaining of their poor performance.
Ikebesi Omoding hailing from Teso Sub-region and the National chairman of the Uganda Media Union argues that the Buganda caucus suffers from a wider malaise that has affected similar associations where MPs chase for personal interests instead of interests of Buganda.
Busiro North MP Medard Sseggona Lubega, who is also Deputy Spokesperson at Mengo explained that Buganda’s interests include securing the Position of the kingdom in Buganda, improving the welfare of the Baganda in a United Buganda, securing a Federal form of Governance, and a total return of the kingdom’s properties.
Sseggona agrees that little has been done by the Members of the Buganda Parliamentary caucus towards achieving the above objectives but he attributes the dismal performance to the failure to spell out an agenda to be pursued by the members.
“Much as we have colleagues with whom we live in Buganda and form the Buganda caucus, the truth of the matter is that because they have different ethnic backgrounds, we don’t have common interests apart from the bond of the geographical area in which all of us live,” Sseggona added: “In fact we are not a caucus but just a group because a caucus must have common objectives that define it.”