Nathan Nandala Mafabi's shot at the post of Speaker of parliament, was not an ordinary contest. Was Mafabi really serious to vie for that position well aware that the NRM kangaroo arrangement called a Caucus would not allow anyone outside their party to vote him? Some are asking that question. Of course Mafabi would have been foolhardy to even imagine that he would defeat an NRM candidate.
However, Mafabi's expression of interest for Speaker was a political move that has helped us to answer two questions: Do we really have independent MPs in parliament? And are Opposition MPs really united or some of them are NRM moles?
His candidature has atleast proved that the Opposition is united but the independents are NRM fellows trying to sit on the fence.
In the new parliament, NRM has 274 MPs inclusive of 10 army representatives. The FDC has 34, UPC 10, DP12, CP 1 and JEEMA 1. In total, the Opposition has 58 MPs. Independents are 43.
Nandala got 57 votes while Odonga Otto, also an FDC figure who vied for deputy Speaker got 58 votes. Nandala would have also got 58 but M Reagan Okumu delayed to arrive in Parliament as he was held up in Kasangati where he had gone to see party boss Dr Kizza Besigye who had been literally put under house arrest.
So, if the Opposition are only 58, it would mean that no Independent MP voted Opposition candidates. And non of the so called rebel MPs also voted an Opposition candidate. In this group of the so called rebels are Henry Banyenzaki, Theodore Ssekikubo, Wilfred Niwagaba, Barnabas Tinkasimire, Chris Baryomunsi and others.
But the voting for Speaker was truly informative. It depicts the nature of our politicians. Some are accused of being moles while others simply follow where the money is. And the majority think no one can see through their lies and manipulation even its obvious to even village gossipers. The election of Speaker put facts bare for all to see.
If the so called NRM rebels really believed that their party has excesses and if they really believe that the Opposition has a role to play in a democracy, how come that none of them voted any Opposition candidate?
One would not be entirely wrong to infer that some of the so called NRM rebels were simply assigned a different role by their party boss to disorganise the Opposition. If they espoused good governance they usually rant about in the media, they would have shown it in their voting.
And do we even need to call some MPs Independent? Can it be a coincidence that all the 43 independent MPs voted NRM candidates?
Again, no one would be chastised if he/she refered to Independent MPs as disgruntled NRM MPs or rather hypocrites and opportunists trying to use parliament to pick some perks from President Museveni.
Surely, there should have been one or two truly independent MPs who should have seen that Nandala or Odonga Otto had some qualities to run parliament. Instead, the masqaraders opted to appease the ruling party.
I may be wrong but the Independents are going to be dangerous to Uganda's democratisation process if we go by what happened during the election of Speaker. Its unfathomable that all 43 people sided with the NRM party. Really? They are going to use their numbers to blackmail NRM and get financial rewards. They have got political power but have no class. Despicable chaps those ones!
I hold the view that Uganda's problem is not NRM numbers per se but lack of honesty and elementary moral values in our body politic. It can only get worse with rebels and Independents of the type we have.
The only ray of hope is the unity that the Opposition [usually chided as disorganised] showed. If that continued despite the small numbers. , then Museveni is in for hard times.
The election of Speaker, I hope, should have driven a point to them that the NRM rebels need to be treated with suspicion and the Independents with scorn. They [rebels and Independents] dance to NRM tune in secret and pretend to hate it in the open.
Alice Alaso is facing hard time becoming leader of Opposition. Despite her loyalty to Dr Kizza Besigye, other party members have different thoughts. Ms Alaso, the Secretary General of FDC had tried to influence Besigye to appoint LOP but the retired Colonel insists on an election to determine who replaces Prof. Ogenga Latigo. Ms Alaso is not at home with several MPs.
Former UPC Iron lady Cecelia Ogwal, an MP with a wealth of political experience, is in contention but her age is a disservice, according to her detractors. Abdu Katuntu was once in the running but is silent these days. That leaves Patrick Amuriat, Nandala Mafabi and Kassiano Wadri as contenders. But Nandala's advisers think he is better as PAC chairman owing to his head on approach in dealing with government thieves.
One only prays that the election of LOP doesnt drive a wedge into the FDC and the Opposition.