The word ‘Stupid’ is often considered an abusive word and tends to attract rebuke from the person who uses such language in public. And yet, when the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga (pictured) used it to describe Justice Stephen Kavuma’s Court order banning all forms of debate about the contentious payment of six billion shillings to senior civil servants, many in the public are praising her.
An angry Kadaga told the Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana to withdraw the ‘Stupid’ Court order that stopped Parliament, the Media and the General Public, from debating the so-called Presidential Handshake. Kadaga announced an indefinite suspension of debate in Parliament until government withdraws the order.
The biggest show of support for Kadaga’s apparent firm and uncompromising stance in defending the independence of the institution she heads, came from the MPs themselves who overwhelmingly praised her for the decision.
Following the revelation that Cabinet and President Museveni had approved the award of UGX6 billion to 52 senior officers from Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Justice and Constitutional affairs, the general public has reacted angrily accusing Museveni and those that awarded themselves of abuse of office.
Parliament has in similar breath vowed to investigate the matter. Justice Kavuma’s order was interpreted by Kadaga and many in the public as a violation of people’s constitutional rights of freedom of speech and expression.
Kadaga argued that stopping inquiry into the issue touched on the core of democracy, but also impacted on other core functions of Parliament such as debating and passing the budget.
Kumi Municipality Member of Parliament Aogon Silas praised Kadaga for her firm stance against Kavuma.
He told The Sunrise that until Kadaga’s ruling, the doctrine of Separation of Powers (between the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive to which Uganda subscribes has been grossly violated in incidents where the Legislature has been the biggest causality.
“This was a landmark decision made by the Speaker and we are very happy she stood her ground and made it and that is why we are behind her. Not only did it come at a right time but also a serious warning to the other arms of government particularly the Judiciary that the 10th Parliament is not going to be a hard one that will not tolerate such jokes on its Constitutional Mandate,” Aogon said.
Aogon was more excited by nothing other than Kadaga’s vow that parliamentary debate would not happen until “the rights of MPs are fully reinstated.”
Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba (Independent) told The Sunrise that that it was absurd that Parliament, had reached the extent of allegedly getting orders from the Judiciary and some time the Executive on how to execute its business.
“Surely we needed redemption. And there could be no better moment than this,” he added.
Busiro South MP Medard Lubega Seggona agreed with Niwagaba congratulating the Speaker upon confronting what he termed as continuous connivance between the Executive and the Judiciary in turning parliament into a rubber-stamp body to the chagrin and disadvantage of all Ugandans.
But Parliament’s clamour to inquire into the apparent abuse of office Handshake has been described as hypocrisy. Some argue that MPs do not have the moral authority to question the award since they have themselves feasted on public money with impunity.
“They have just bagged Ushs100m for cars in total silence, followed by another serious connivance to exempt their emoluments from tax all against the will of Ugandans. Now they are coming out to make noise in the name of ‘oversight’.
If they did not exercise it in a mischief where they were involved, what moral authority do they have to investigate similar mischiefs where other government officials like them are involved,” one lawyer commented on condition of anonymity.