And there comes the venomous Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda who says……” And you have the audacity to say you have the honor to present the list of kidnapped Ugandans to the speaker! Which honor is that? Instead you should be ashamed.”
That happened last week as General Abubaker Jeje Odongo was on the floor of Parliament to fulfill President Museveni’s promise to the nation that those in state detention would publicly be declared to calm pressures over concerns that they had been abducted.
After a series of unfulfilled promises to the House on presenting the list of the people whom National Unity Platform leadership says had been kidnapped, Gen. Odongo finally appeared with a list which later got questioned by the members.
Whereas NUP had publicly availed a 413 member list as compiled from complaints from their families, the Internal Affairs Minister appeared with only 177 people. As expected, questions from angry members rained on him on the whereabouts of the rest of the members whose names had not appeared on the list.
Humiliatingly, Odongo’s answer clearly suggested that he was actually not the one in control despite being the line Minister and a full General!
He told Parliament that what he had read to them is what he had so far been provided with and would only present more in case he gets provided with other names as time goes on.
Earlier on, the senior army officer had told the public he, as the Minister of Internal Affairs didn’t have any idea on who had been kidnapping Ugandans and where they were being kept. But on the 13 of last month, the president in his address to the nation embarrassed him when he insisted the cases were actually not kidnap but arrests to the criminals some of whom had been arraigned before court while others were in detention pending prosecution.
He thus ordered that all those in custody of the security be publicly accounted for, something that took a while before being put in action. And even when it was implemented, only a section of those claimed abducted had their names on the list.
A few days ago, even as the matter of the abductions raged on, Odongo , in a pure military style provocatively promised a no apology to Ugandans whose loved ones have been held for months without being produced before any court. This is highly unacceptable since these people are being considered political prisoners.
All that said, even though General Odongo is a senior man in the politics of the country, he is best known for his military accomplishments.
Political and military background
Having joined the army in 1979, the 69 year old Minister was one of the first 27 members to grace the National Resistance Army rebellion in the Luwero jungles.
He was arrested by the Obote administration in the very first phase of the rebellion and imprisoned at Luzira Maximum security Prison and released only after the capture of power in 1986.
In 1994, he was appointed to represent the army in the Constitution making process. Ten members of the army were party of the assembly.
In 1996, he replaced Col Sserwanga Lwanga as UPDF’s Political Commissar. He was also elected to represent his native Amuria in Parliament and instantly appointed Defence Minister , only to resign two years later in 1998. He then took over from Maj General Gregory Mugisha Muntu and Army Commander. Here, he served until 2001 when General James Kazini replaced him.
Between 2001 and 2006, he was an army representative in the eighth Parliament and also appointed a minister without portfolio and then State Minister for Environment in 2004.
In May 2008, he graduated with a Master of Arts in International Diplomacy from Nkumba University.
On the 16 of Jan 2009, he was promoted to the rank of a full General and subsequently appointed Minister of State for Defense. Here, he served for seven years before being sent to the Internal Affairs docked in June 2016 where he is up to now.
Although with a wealth of experience in politics as well, Jeje Odongo seems more suited for the gun that the art of public management. This has been exemplified at the internal Affairs docket when despite being the minister has seemed to either appear like a bystander or a ceremonial official especially in the matter of the kidnaps.
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