By Betty Nambooze
As I sat nursing my pain in a wheel chair in Mukono some months ago,a Real Estate Mogul sent me his Assistant to sweet talk me into meeting his son so that we could agree on the amount that could make me change my mind about the Landlord and Tenants bill that was coming in plenary for debate.
I didn’t waste the messenger’s time…I just told him humbly that ” Am a member of Parliament for an urban area and most of my people are tenants and there is no way,I can betray them”. Because they approached me with an offer to bribe me off, these people must have approached many other vocal MPs…I saw the result in the Plenary when we were debating this law the other Week. However this time money failed to buy the rich-men’s law through Parliament; they lost the bill.
After failing in the legislature the rich men have appealed to their friend the President not to assent to the law. But Mr.Museveni is a populist who cant sign away million of voters a few months to the election. So the rich-men are out to influence public debate and opinion about the law…once they succeed with this the President will be hoodwicked to believe that after all even the “Tenants are so sad that Parliament made a law to fix the Landlords”!!
At times I get sad when the elites betray Ugandans….just imagine if Parliament had made a law empowering the Landlords over Tenants….Everybody would be saying that “the corrupt Parliamentarians were compromised” now that we stood with the poor against the rich we are being attacked for risking an industry. And interestingly elites who themselves are Tenants or semi-tenants are leading this debate with a view of forming public opinion against the bill to give Museveni a window not to assent to it.
The laws should always protect the vulnerable against the mighty. The only issue we need to examine is that now that we have regulated the Landlord,tenants relationship, why don’t we also move to regulate other industries like the banking sector to fight exploitation disguised as rights under a liberalized economy. It will be unfair for us to regulate the Real Estate sector without regulating other sectors and to me this is where the debate must focus. But great things start somewhere…lets take this as a panadol for pain killing…the real cure is to face this extreme capitalitalism created by Museveni in his mafia-economy and wrestle from these artificial rich-men the riches they have accumulated. For sure we shall need to redistribute the country’s wealth.
We cant leave the people to be at the mercy of the few who control the economy more so when we know how those people have acquired their riches. When the powerful were stealing from Ugandans we told them that one day,when everybody else is so poor the rich will have to forfeit their riches to the masses and here we are…I want to sound a warning to school proprietors,money lending institutions, and others in that category that you stand next in line. “THE RICH SHOULD LEARN TO LIVE SIMPLY,SO THAT THE POOR CAN SIMPLY LIVE”, I always caution the rich in Mukono.
The author is the Mukono Municipality Member of Parliament.
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