Stop Usurping M7 Powers: Beti Kamya Tells Off Kadaga
And equates Kayihura to insecurity
By Our Reporter
Kampala Minister Beti Kamya has criticized Parliament of Uganda leader Rebecca Kadaga for what she called attempts to usurp executive powers of the President and his cabinet.
She says this is improper because the President was elected by millions of people and dispenses his constitutional duties through cabinet. A tough-talking Beti Kamya decried what she called populist approaches which she faulted a number of government officials for lately adopting in management of public affairs.
Speaking on Meddie Nsereko’s Parliament Yamwe program on Saturday, Kamya who has lately been criticized by Parliament for being a political failure who disrespects elected leaders in Kampala, said she doesn’t believe Parliament is an authority anymore on anything.
She had been asked why she thinks when she quarrels with Erias Lukwago, she is the one who is right and thinks the same must apply when she disagrees with ED Jennifer Musisi and all Kampala MPs all of whom have previously criticized her approach as KCCA Minister.
It will be recalled that the petition that moved Parliament to denounce the manner in which she donated Park Yard Market to Hamis Kiggundu was brought to Kadaga by Kampala MPs.
“I really don’t believe in Parliament. I have a problem with the way they interfere in execution of executive work. They don’t seem to know their powers. They are always interfering with executive work trying to do work meant for Ministers yet the constitution is clear theirs is legislation and oversight. I have held these views and written my reservations in newspaper articles even before I became a Minister. This usurpation of the executive [President’s] powers by Parliament and Speaker must stop or else some of us will advise the President to refer this matter to the Constitutional Court for interpretation,” Kamya ranted.
“I don’t understand under which law they keep interfering with Ministers’ work for example in Park Yard market or even in case of sim card registration. Who are they to extend the sim registration by one year? This is real abuse of power which must be checked. The Speaker shouldn’t be seen to usurp powers of the executive. Each time we ministers try to do our work, someone writes a petition to the Speaker and instead of guiding them to complain to the line Minister, the Speaker misleads these people by accepting the petition and the next thing you will hear is that Parliament is investigating this matter. That is really not leadership. The speaker should educate these associations and send them back to the Minister concerned rather than entertain their petition which slows down executive work. I really don’t know why the Speaker keeps doing this,” Kamya said.
She added that some of the petitions Kadaga entertains relate to issues that are purely technical and MPs clearly have no technical capacity or expertise to conclusively resolve those issues. Kamya said these acts by Parliament amount to sabotaging government work, something the President must assert himself against. Kamya blamed all these to populism whereby the Speaker prefers to appease whoever petitions her office rather than telling them the truth that Parliament has no power to entertain some of these petitions.
FDC Lawyer Yusuf Nsibambi, who is also a panelist on the Saturday show, defended Kadaga saying it’s a bigger problem of low quality MPs Ugandans sent to Parliament.
“Strictly sticking to oversight and legislative work is the ideal way Parliament should function but what do you expect the Speaker to in a Parliament full of low caliber legislators? Let’s be fair to her and for me this is the reason I want us to have the upper chamber of the house for the more refined legislators who do things the way my sister Beti is demanding of the Speaker,” Nsibambi reasoned.
The moderator reminded Kamya that the sim card registration-related populism originated from NRM caucus whose boss Yoweri Museveni she serves and her response was that “ebyo byonna biffu [all that is dead].” Kamya, who some callers cautioned to be careful lest she bites more than what she can chew, also didn’t spare IGP Gen Kayihura whom she criticized for applying politics of populism in the city.
“I will not mince words on this. Gen Kayihura is the biggest cause of instability in Kampala. The man is a populist and takes sides which has bred a generation of untouchables for example in the taxi industry which we are supposed to have pacified by now if it wasn’t for Gen Kayihura’s populist interference,”
Kamya said in reference to two warring Taxi drivers associations whose members have been having bloody fights in Kampala resulting in death and maiming of some. She specifically accused Kayihura of fraternizing with the UTRADA group whose populist leaders (she called them so) include Mustapha Mayambala and NRM Rubaga Chairman Abdul Kitata.
She said she has evidence these are Gen Kayihura’s irresponsible agents in the taxi industry. She praised another rival group headed by Sematimba whose members she said are disciplined and deserve to overall be in charge of the taxi industry in Kampala.
“These populists, patronized by Gen Kayihura, like going to radio for everything and they don’t understand things.” She read out names of Sematimba taxi group members who have been thumped and wounded by pro-Kayihura UTRADA goons (as she called them) including Issa Ntale whose eye she said was removed for defying the last Monday taxi drivers’ strike Mayambala and Kitata had called.
She said the flopping of the Monday strike is proof Kayihura’s UTRADA group members don’t have legitimacy to represent or speak for the taxi industry. She also said Kayihura was the problem for the Boda Boda industry because each time KCCA moves to regulate the industry and impose order; Kayihura makes populist pronouncements frustrating KCCA efforts.
Some callers like Maj Umaru of Bugolobi defended Gen Kale and vowed to crush Kamya if she didn’t stop her intrigue trying to undermine their man. Kamya, who spoke like someone who fears her days may not be many in cabinet (kept saying in case the President keeps me there that long), had no kind words for KCCA ED Jennifer Musisi whom she fell short of accusing for insubordination.
Denying undermining Musisi, Kamya said she had proposed to meet the ED every Monday at her office 8am, something she said Musisi rejected saying it was too early and too busy for those weekly engagements.
“I said okay tell me now which time is convenient for you and that program didn’t move on well,” Kamya said when asked about her media attacks on Musisi. “The ED is okay except that she is being eaten up by the populism virus of wanting to talk in the media all the time,” said Kamya who couldn’t tell the difference between her own regular media appearances and what she criticized as Musisi’s or Kayihura’s populism.
Some callers told her there was nothing wrong with leaders accounting to the public through regular media interfaces because that is what transparency (Katikiro Mayiga calls it Obwerufu) is all about. She said she has enough on her plate and has no interest meddling in Musisi’s work.
“I only intervened in transport industry [taxis and bodas] and Park Yard market after the ED came to me and said these ones I can’t manage because there is too much political and police interference. That is why I came in otherwise she does many other things and I don’t come in,” she said.
Saying the legislative reforms in the KCCA Act she is advocating for will seek both political (Lukwago’s) and administrative (Musisi’s) changes at City Hall, Kamya said there is some vagueness in the technical wing’s powers and the oversight mechanism.
“You can’t be the one who plans and gets the money, then be the one to do the job, spend the money, supervise yourself, report to yourself and all those things. This must change and we are ready to fight to streamline things and make Kampala better for everyone. I will do that every day for as long as my boss the President leaves me in this cabinet position,” Kamya said.