Members of the Buganda Parliamentary caucus have reaffirmed their position opposing the Institution of Traditional or Cultural Leaders Bill 2010. The MPs held a meeting told that was chaired by Rose Namayanja, Nakaseke Woman MP.
They referred to the reports from state house on the bill as rumors that could not be relied on. Last week, President Yoweri Museveni convened two meetings to try and reach some agreeable positions on the bill.
During the meetings; first with the entire NRM MPs and then with Buganda NRM legislators, Museveni agreed to have a number of clauses in the bill deleted to accommodate the interests of Mengo.
Some of the clauses suggested for deletion include the rotational mandate of a traditional leader in areas where regional tier applies, consulting the foreign affairs minister when dealing with foreign governments, recognition by government of a cultural or traditional leader as well as holding the traditional leader criminally liable for offences committed by his agents or representatives, among others.
But today MPs argued that other traditional or cultural leaders and institutions were not consulted on the bill making it look like it was only targeting the Kabaka. They also argued that the timing of the bill during the election was suspect.
Robert Kasule Ssebunya, Kyadondo North MP, said that the bill should be halted and brought to parliament after the elections. He said that time was not adequate to extensively consult and debate the bill to have it passed before the elections, scheduled for February 18th.
Few MPs attended the caucus meeting. Out of about 80 Buganda MPs, only 17 turned up for the meeting. Of the 17, only four were NRM leaning MPs.
The members complained that president Museveni was using the State House meetings to divide the Buganda MPs.
The mood of the meeting was charged with Hussein Kyanjo, Makindye West MP, at one time openly clashing with Ssebunya who was unhappy that they were being recalled numerous times to sit to discuss the bill when other candidates were busy campaigning. This suggestion did not go down well with Kyanjo who said Ssebunya should not have turned up for the meeting if he had nothing useful to contribute to the meeting.
Ssebunya also had a rough time contributing when he attempted to speak in English during the meeting, prompting Sam Njuba to shout at him to speak Luganda.
Today's meeting came amid reports that the speaker of parliament, himself a muganda, has reportedly directed the legal and parliamentary affairs committee to start meeting next week to consider the bill, ready for presentation to the house for debate and enactment into law.
Namayanja said that as far as the Buganda caucus is concerned, the speaker withdrew the bill during plenary and he could only return it before the same house during plenary.