Covid-19: Mps Make U-Turn, Applaud M7’s Leadership In Coronavirus Fight

Members of Parliament have made a U-turn and applauded President Yoweri Museveni for exemplary leadership just days after the same house passed a displeasure motion condemning his attack on parliament.

Last week, the MPs passed a motion condemning the president for castigating parliament’s decision to allocate its self Shs 10 billion in a supplementary budget to fight COVID-19. Museveni said it was morally reprehensible for MPs to allocate themselves money amidst a crisis and that they were not government’s purchasing officers to start buying and distributing relief food and alms to people using public funds.

Last week’s motion of displeasure was presented by Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda amidst what the speaker of parliament described as an attack on the legislature. But in a sudden turn of events, Kole North MP Bonny Okello on Tuesday moved another motion for a resolution of parliament paying tribute to Museveni for his exemplary leadership during the COVID-19 crisis.

Okello said that in spite of the devastating effects of COVID-19 on developed countries like the United States of America, Italy, United Kingdom and others, Uganda has managed with decisive leadership to limit the effects of the deadly virus with no single death.
He said that Museveni’s leadership has become a beacon of hope in the fight against COVID-19 and has mitigated the social and economic effects of the virus on the country.

The motion was supported by several MPs mainly from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) while their opposition colleagues who recently supported the motion of displeasure in which they accused the executive of scandalizing parliament and trying to gain political capital from the COVID-19 fight stayed clear.

In support of Okello’s motion, West Budama South MP Jacob Oboth Oboth said that the motion was not meant to critique anybody, but to acknowledge what the president has helped Uganda achieve so far. He described Museveni as a team player who has demonstrated inspiration among masses and fellow leaders.

Hon.Veronica Elagu Bichetero, the Kaberamaido County MP said that the president deserved tribute for his decisiveness during the ongoing fight against COVID-19. She was supported by Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Ephraim Kamuntu.

“If you really want to test the quality of leadership that this country has, look at the crises this country has gone through and you can ably see, quite ably see that in all these crises, the president has been tested, he has been tried and he has proved capacity and capability to show the way. For us we can look back in 1971, this country went through a political crisis. The president saw it…and he was out of this country preparing to wage a war to restore democracy in this country. Since 1986, the country has gone through crises, many of them. Even after HIV/Aids broke out, the world was silent but President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni stood out and he saved lives.” Kamuntu said.

PWDs representative Helen Asamo appreciated the president for consulting the religious leaders before closing churches, mosques and other places of worship. She says that this was and still is exemplary and insightful leadership.

“I want to pay tribute to his excellency that he had to get on the frontline and called the leader of parliament, the leader of the judiciary and all the other stakeholders and said what can we do? He even called the religious leaders and by the time we heard that he was closing churches, I was like is it real? But the religious leaders said we were consulted. I think we need to pay tribute to someone who consulted. The country could have gone into chaos. And I want to thank him for that.” said Asamo.

But Arua Municipality MP Kassiano Wadri said that it was too early for Uganda to celebrate coronavirus success when it is yet to find a lasting solution to the ever-increasing positive cases among truck drivers. Speaker Rebecca Kadaga argued that the virus has been a learning experience and that there was a need to acknowledge the progress so far made.

Kilak South MP Gilbert Olanya had amended the motion to include appreciation to the Kadaga for her leadership of Parliament during the COVID-19 crisis. His proposal was shot down by the minister of state for Primary Education Rosemary Sseninde saying that the motion was meant to appreciate the president and that another motion to appreciate the speaker can be tabled later.

The Leader of Opposition Betty Aol Ocan questioned what had changed for MPs to make a U-turn within a few days and start praising Museveni whom they criticized last week.

“Last week we had a debate here and I was pondering within myself what is it that has changed from last week to this week for us to make this big U-turn. U-turn, what has changed? Members of parliament, we need to be people of high integrity. This is not being people of high integrity. I would just like to say our people are still in tears, our people are starving, if you ever know that a very decent person can go to steal because of food. Our people are dying,” she said.
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda dismissed Ocan’s statement saying that it was only exemplary leadership that can help stabilise the nation and that Museveni has exhibited that over the years.

Parliament and the executive have been bickering for weeks. Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa who mobilised the ruling party MPs to praise Museveni, said last week they were ambushed with the displeasure motion. u.r.n

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