By Watchdog reporter
Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze is not known for chickening out when someone threatens her freedoms and rights.
Recently, she’s involved in a cat and mouse fight with Democratic party boss Norbert Mao over the mismanagement of the party.
Nambooze says DP has gone off the track especially that its leadership has chosen to stay around against their mandate.
The pressure she has put on Mao’s leadership has tested the Gulu man’s democratic credentials, forcing him to run to his rival President Museveni to borrow the police force to contain the activism in his party.
Nambooze is now still bedridden after police assaults in Masaka last week at the behest of Mao and his lieutenants Denis Mukasa Mbidde and Dr Siranda.
Below is a memo written by Nambooze to her supporters;
Statement by Hon Nambooze Bakireke Betty
We wish to salute you comrades for your solidarity since we started on the campaign to organize and mobilize to make DP Great Again. You have stood tall in the fight to reclaim our party’s dignity in the face of continued intimidation and blackmail.
You have been beaten, harassed and you have sustained injuries at the hands of police all inflicted on the instructions of the people who would have led us to demand for rights in Uganda whether within or outside the party.
What would be expected of a Party Chief Executive would be an explanation and words of hope and encouragement to the party membership. However, our brother has chosen to do what he knows best; insulting, name calling, belittling and tribalism to the extent of attacking the Kabaka who is not even remotely connected to this matter.
The only offence our Kabaka committed, to warrant Mao’s attack is for him to be a king to the Baganda Moa seems to hate with vengeance. Very soon he will however realize that the attacking Kabaka is a no go area.
Mao can insult us his Members of parliament from Buganda and declare us not to be fit to br receptionist at parliament, he can also compare us with those he considers his Acholi brothers but one thing we shall not do; we shall not join him in his tribal ranting.
We respect the people of Acholi and we know that they have nothing to do with his decision to insult Baganda. What can you say of a man who bites the hand that feeds him, the Members of Parliament that Mao is attacking are the reason why he earns tax payers money from the electoral commission which he cannot even account for. That he can sit with a group of people who were embarrassingly rejected by the Ugandan citizens and abuse people’s elected representatives only shows the caliber of the people we are dealing with, we have therefore decided to apply ourselves to the words of wisdom from our great sister Michelle Obama, “when they go low we go high”.
OUR ISSUES AND THE DEBATE WE SHALL ENGAGE IN IS ABOUT REFORMS IN THE PARTY, BASED ON SIX POINTS [6RS]
The absence of remorse in his response at Tuesday’s press conference clearly illustrates the unfortunate degree of moral degeneration on his part and that of his group at the expense of our party. This has vindicated us especially in the hearts of many of our people who have not been aware of what we who have been internally with him have had to tolerate for years.
On Sunday we almost got killed in Masaka where we had gone with a team of DP leaders at the invitation of the DP Chapter in the area to attend a party meeting. Police moved brutally to foil the meeting in an operation that lasted the whole day and night even when they had earlier on cleared the meeting. They were acting on the orders of Mao and Mbidde through their conduit Siranda who purportedly wrote a letter of protest to them.
Interestingly, police which is supposed to enforce the penal code and national laws reduced itself to enforcing a letter from a private citizen with such force that they put the entire Greater Masaka on tension.
I was shot with a rubber bullet on the head and Hon Ssegona in the thigh. We have reason to believe that there was an attempt on our lives.
We were sprayed with teargas at close range for which I have been receiving medical treatment since Sunday.
However, on Monday evening I was advised by my doctors in Mukono to seek more specialized treatment and undergo tests at a superior facility. Our ambulance in Mukono had broken hence the intervention of the Parliament Medical Team who evacuated me to Nsambya.
After being treated for injuries caused to my lungs and the head for which I underwent a CT Scan to establish the extent of damage to my brain, I have also been advised to take total bed rest.
You will recall that this is the second meeting to be brutally dispersed after one we organized as DP Buganda at Nsambya Youth Sharing Centre Hall a few weeks ago. The attempt to organize, mobilize and recruit as DP Buganda has received evil reactions from this clique to the extent of subjecting me to disciplinary action.
Despite the fact that I am working closely with other leaders in the DP, I was selectively singled out for punitive action. This culminated into a hastily convened “special” meeting of the Democratic Party NEC on Thursday April 20th, 2017 which purportedly suspended me from the position of Vice President Buganda Region. Mr. Mao personally went to great lengths to justify a suspension of sorts. He alleged that I am tribalistic and insinuated that I am insubordinate.
Though the meeting was irregularly convened and procedurally wrong, the NEC went ahead to vote on the matter of a suspension for me for 90 days. It will be recalled that at a press conference recently, Mr. Mao backtracked on “summons” he had issued for me and several other party members to appear before the party’s disciplinary committee on several unspecified charges.
He said that much as he had the power as the party’s Chief Executive to fire me, he would refer the matter to the party organs hence the so called special meeting of the Democratic Party NEC to execute his scheme. Indeed, a meeting was held on the day before the NEC meeting to plot the illegal suspension.
Unfortunately, owing to ill health, I was not able to attend NEC and I informed the party Acting Secretary General Gerald Siranda Blacks. It will be noted that the meeting was convened on an agenda different from what it turned out to follow.
What transpired was being judged in absentia with the complainant as the judge. It was wanton abuse and disregard of due process to an end regardless of the means. What happened was a coup meant to do away with the mandate of the party to organize, mobilise and recruit all in favour of the NRM Government.
Repeatedly and shamelessly, freedom of assembly and other rights in the Democratic Party have been put in the spotlight yet the perpetrators of this impunity can go and sit happily at NRM functions and then say it is a sign of tolerance. It is ironical that they can tolerate NRM but cant stand views from dissenting party members.
I might as well state that it has been out of great restraint serving at an Executive that has since departed from the interests of the party. I am not saddened by their decision especially as we have been holding out illegally since our mandate expired. Mao is therefore operating outside the party constitution which he has decided to arbitrarily substitute with decrees, causing ambiguity. I will not continue to pretend; I would rather pursue the options available to me to push for reforms that will guarantee systems that will deliver good, legal and legitimate leadership in the party as well as mobilize accordingly for the same around the country as a party member.
The party Constitution allows us this freedom in Article 9.
Fellow Democrats, as soon as I regain my strength, I will rejoin my colleagues and for sure Luweero we are coming. We are ready to pay the price for this struggle and we apply ourselves to the wisdom of Nelson Mandela ;
“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice ALL for the freedom of their people.”
For truth ad justice as we strive to make DP great again.