By Kevin Patrice
Whoever had thought that Speaker Kadaga’s battle with Museveni in defence of MPs over the 20 million covid 19 cash was over had better withdrawn their bets after the Chief keeper of the country’s legislature has instead opted for an open war over ceasefire, asking members of Parliament to go a head and spend the cash as she had authorized them to do, in total disregard for Museveni’s recommendations on the same.
Following President Museveni’s twelfth national address on covid19 on Tuesday 28, during which he bashed the legislature over the manner in which they partitioned 10bn shillings off the 300 bn supplementary budget for the fight against coronavirus, Kadaga has swiftly swung in action, making her intentions clear that she is not willing to settle for a loss or even a draw in this particular battle no matter what it may cost her.
On Thursday 30, the fire spitting Kadaga called a press conference wherein he publicly demonstrated that not even the judiciary or the executive headed by Museveni would be let interfere with the independence of the the legislative arm of government which she heads. Resultantly, she has appealed to the office of the Registrar General in protest against the manner in which the judiciary had handled the issue of the 20m VOVID19 cash for MPs, after going a head to issue judgement in the case which had been withdrawn by the petitioners.
At the same presser, Kadaga vowed she was not willing to relent over the issue of guarding the independence of Parliament which she argues is under attack from both the Executive and the Judicial arms of government.
“This evening, I’ve held a press conference & complained about yesterday’s ruling & orders by the Judge, in the 10bn/- Covid case. Well as the two MPs had earlier withdrawn their case, he went ahead to make a ruling & to issue orders over a non existent case! And this was despite objection from the Attorney General & Parliament’s legal team!
Both of us have written to the Registrar, objecting to the judge’s conduct & abuse of due process.
Further, I’ve complained about attacks on Parliament by the Judiciary & the Executive.
I’ve also advised MPs to adhere to guidelines that I gave them last week; on how to expend the Covid cash.” Kadaga later posted on her official social media accounts.
The head of the legislature also asked the public to stop concentrating on the House’s Covid19 allocation and question the expenditure of money sent to the Prime Minister and the President’s Office among others. She also showed how disappointed she was in President Museveni for publicly calling the Shs10bn Covid money a trap he had warned her against, and the judiciary for their ruling on an application filed by MPs Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality) and Jonathan Odur (Erute South).
“As the Commission of Parliament, we are disappointed that for two weeks now, the media, central government and the judiciary are on our back yet we execute our duties within the Constitution and I am so surprised that everyone is sticking on the Shs20 million yet we pass a lot of money here and nobody follows it,” she said, repeating almost the same words she had told MPs during plenary.
Government spokesperson Ofwondo however advises that Kadaga should swallow her pride and own up her mistake, apologise to the public and move on other than being a bad loser.
“The forced surrender of Shs 20m Covid19 dodgy money to MPs seems to be hurting Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga that she must convene a sitting to lash out. But she should always remember that they are in public office and it’s collectively our money they are seeking to spend,” Ofwono Opondo fired back.
“It’s only her who doesn’t want to see that there was an intended mischief in this 10Bn direct cash saga to MPs.” OO continued.
Even though Opondo raises another contentious question on the whereabouts of the 1.2 bn cash remainder from the MPs’ Covid19 loot, fighting the Country’s number three might turn out to be an impossible likelihood for Museveni, just months to the 2021 elections. It ought to be noted with utmost precision that Kadaga has the backing of majority of MPs who are mainly aligned to the ruling NRM party and are the President’s political ambassadors in their respective constituencies of representation.
Another important point worthy noting is that Kadaga is a major political influence in Busoga where she hails, with her word taken for a Bible command among her loyal tribesmen and women. Being the political king maker she has over the years proved to be, coupled with the fact that Busoga has always been Museveni’s political strong hold, the NRM national Chairman would most certainty have to think twice before doing anything to anger the anointed one of Busoga – Kadaga.
Museveni must thus be very well aware that any careless attack on Kadaga and her MPs could turn into a suicidal move that may disorganise his chances for re election come 2021. As such, Museveni may opt to lie low like an envelope, let this storm pass and probably sort the scores with Kadaga after the general polls of next year.