OP-ED

Opposition, NRM MPs; Cheeks of the same political backside

By Ofwono Opondo

Money accumulated primitively may be good, but cannot buy love, although reports of underhand behaviours at parliament accompanied by silence across the aisle suggest it might still help one acquire a Leonardo da Vinci-painted ermine. The nexus between money and political power aren’t new, as the House of Commons history whose tradition our parliament borrows demonstrates.

The Commons has for long been a devil’s den. Sir Thomas Moore was beheaded for refusing to endorse King Henry VIII as head Church of England. Under Tory Prime Minister John Major was the cash-for-questions accusation against MPs. Minister Neil Hamilton reportedly brown envelopes from Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al Fayed, father to Dodi Fayed who died with Princess Diana in a Paris motor crash 1997. Hamilton was also accused of altering Bills to favour oil companies.

In 2009, under Freedom of Information Act, the expenses scandal was exposed from which six MPs were jailed, and Speaker Michael Martin forced to resign although they tried hard to obstruct open accountability.

Parliament leadership and MPs may snub explaining the episode #UgandaParliamentExhibition on alleged nepotism, illegal recruitment, dubious and fraudulent expenditures by a cabal because they that hope the passage of time will dim public noise over a tainted bonanza. However, using LGBTQ legions as a scapegoat is not intelligent, though understandably MPs want to feather nests and a heavy election chest.

While this is not the first time NRM government is in trouble with loose cash, candour is needed. NRM likes comparing with the Communist Party of China (CPC), Tanzania’s Chama Cha Mapenduzi (CCM), and African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa as “fraternal Parties” applying similar work methods to build robust institutions.

The fact NRM, NUP, FDC, DP, UPC, and all 67 ‘Independents’ MPs have left Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LoP), Joel Ssenyonyi as a lone wolf to openly extract blood and pound of flesh from Speaker Anita Annet Among is instructive. It looks like a as conspiracy in mischief and silence, what maverick British politician George Galloway terms “cheeks of the same backside,” and difficult to differentiate. It’s hard squaring the same MPs demanding accountability for lesser transgressions, yet content to trouser their silence.

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CPC, CCM and ANC as the ruling parties in their countries since independence have changed leaders and decisively dealt with indiscipline including corruption. In CPC leaders are sent into long hard-labour rehabilitation, even death, and some commit suicide once discovered. In CCM you become a pariah once exposed.

Most recently ANC evicted Jacob Zuma over the so-called ‘State capture’ by the Gupta family business. Zuma had replaced Thabo Mbeki as ANC leader and president of South Africa. Current predictions are that ANC could be obliterated due to internal malfeasance among its leadership and NRM should pick lessons.

Sadly, NRM is proving hapless preferring rubbery platitudes while avoiding candid discussion on corruption and doesn’t seem bothered that public opinion is lurching against it on multiple issues which could get it spanked further in the next general election.

FDC having fought NRM for two decades and lost, its sharp elbows now blunt, and remnants of its leaderships morally tripped, although some may continue to survive if popular grievances remain, while UPC and DP hang around as minors.

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As a result, there’s a steady decline in democratic political vibrancy to hold leaders to effective accountability because, for now what passes for opposition, has abandoned national policy agenda even though their mouths still froth big dreams.

Like Thomas Moore, those asking for accountability today from AAA and her troops mean well. They deserve candour and not swearwords, otherwise the painful hand of history never forgets.

The writer; Ofwono Opondo, is the official Government Spokesperson

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