During his visit to Kamuli last week, President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni stunningly declared that he had resolved all the outstanding differences with Busoga region’s king maker and Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Alitwaala Kadaga.
The two have for quite some time been at loggerheads, with their differences seeming like they wouldn’t be resolved any time soon due to the controversy that surrounded the Covid-19 cash bonanza in Parliament a few months back.
During the hugely contentious altercation between the Executive and Kadaga’s Legislature, the Speaker had rewarded her members with 10bn shillings while passing a covid-19 supplementary budget.
The matter drew mixed reactions from the public with many faulting the House, accusing it’s members of being greedy and indifferent to people’s suffering amidst the biting pandemic.
On her part however, the Speaker vigorously defended the cash give away as an attempt to boost the fight against the spread of the virus disease thereby involving the MPs whom she urged were more close to their voters back in their respective constituencies than the select committees that had been identified at the various levels.
While addressing the nation days later, the fire spitting President Museveni faulted the Kadaga led Legislature over the cash bonanza which he described as being “Morally reprehensible”.
“If the MPs have spent the Shs20m wrongly, they will pay back using their salary. If they have spent the money on themselves, it’s a terrible thing. That Shs20m is bad planning because we had already planned in a certain way. It is morally reprehensible for MPs to give themselves money for personal use when the country is in such a crisis; and totally unacceptable to me and to the NRM,” Museveni castigated the MPs.
“When I met with the Speaker, I told her they should get out of that trap and the best way to do it is by not spending this money on themselves. I agreed with the Speaker to donate that money to the district task forces.”
But the obstinate Speaker was not done yet.Even when the matter was referred to court by MP Gerald Karuhanga and others and a decision made against her decision, a highly determined Kadaga would describe this as an attack on the independence of the Arm of government she heads and vowed to fight to the end.
The matter ended in a partial defeat for Kadaga as Members were forced to return the cash back.
Museveni’s victory in the matter was however rumored to have come at a very hefty cost as he was reportedly made to pay double the Shs20m earlier offered by Kadaga.
The elections of the NRM Central Executive provided another opportunity for the aggrieved Museveni to punish her defiant party cadre.
In the Bukono MP Persis Namuganza who also doubles as junior lands Minster, Museveni allegedly trusted to get the job done.
But unfortunately, the princess was way no match for Kadaga who still sailed through with ease albeit with some significant resistance from the West of the country where the President hails from.
Party Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa would come out full scotched to scoff at Kadaga whom she called an opposition apologist who was not loyal to party Chairman and thus voting her out in favor of a more obedient Namuganza was for the good of the party.
The pomp with which Bobi Wine-real name Robert Kyagulanyi was received in a series of his recent visits to the region must have greatly opened the eyes of the prior too adamant Museveni to an impending probable shock.
Addressing the issues affecting the people of Busoga with a unique precision as though he was one of them, Kyagulanyi has managed to win over many hearts of discontented Basoga people.
In Mayuge where residents braved teargas, bullets and police barricades to get to the campaign venue through the flooded swamps, the courage of the people would understandably send shock waves through the ruling circles and Museveni certainly knew that his next move had to be a well calculated one.
But there is only one person that can cause the people in the subregion to change their mind before January 14 – Kadaga. As such, Museveni could not afford to miss the opportunity of putting things right when he visited Kadaga’s home place in Kamuli last week.
“If I am against Kadaga, why do I have to hide? It’s an insult to me to say that. Whatever issue I have had with Kadaga, we have discussed it and resolved it,” said Museveni.
“I don’t believe in quarrelling because we are not working for ourselves. We are working for Uganda and Africa.
Some people come in with other aims or personal motives, but you should always try to see how you bring people together.”
Museveni explained that he was always open to reconciliation in the interest of transforming the country.
“I quarrelled with people like my friend Eriya Kategaya and Amama Mbabazi. They were unfair to me, saying that I was hanging on to power. But you know I am not interested in power. If we were after power, we were in government but resigned to go and fight Amin. How can you say that I am interested in power? You never know how people think,” the president narrated.
“After that, I looked for Kategaya and asked him whether he was still in support of East Africa. He said yes. I said ok, whether you like me or not, you come and we work together. Kategaya came back and became deputy prime minister and minister for East Africa, and we worked. You know what Mbabazi said in the last election. We are now talking.”
He also warned that “when you have differences, you have got opportunists who make money out of lies. They come and say Museveni does not support Kadaga.”
In reciprocity, Kadaga rallied the people of Busoga to vote Museveni and NRM.
But there seems to be the gist of the public declaration of reconciliation.
Both Kadaga and Museveni are facing election battles in which their opponents accuse them of overstaying in power.
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