Barely two weeks after the election of the Buganda caucus into office, Baganda diehards loyal to Mengo have come out to denounce it as a hoax unworthy of Baganda’s trust to defend the interests of the (Buganda) kingdom.
Key among the causes of their disappointments is the fact that majority of the members (8 out of 10) subscribe to the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party and therefore likely to give preeminence to NRM’s agenda over Buganda which they say will perpetuate what they call a trend of poor performances ( of the caucus) since the sixth parliament . City lawyer and Kampala District Land Board chairman Yusuf Nsibambi, is one of those who have expressed disgust referring to the outfit as “a subtle extension of the NRM caucus” meant to invigorate NRM’s positions in the House.
“It is a waste of time for us to expect any thing from such a caucus with all its members including the chairman coming from the ruling party as staunch supporters and members,” Nsibambi said despondently.
He compares it to the previous one in the 9th Parliament which he says squandered an opportunity to successfully marshal Buganda’s interests on several contentious issues of keen interest to Buganda including the land amendment bill.
“Members (of the caucus) consistently gave precedence to government’s interests because, just like in this particular caucus, the majority, including their chairman Godfrey Kiwanda were staunch members of the ruling party. We can’t be fooled to hope for any thing better this time round with a similar composition of the caucus. ” He added
Nsibambi does not mince words faulting the State for allegedly having a hand in crippling the caucus including manipulating of the elections ensuring it lacks the spine to stand up to the Central government juggernaut on matters of Buganda’s interests.
He pointed out that president Museveni has in the past deliberately appointed to his cabinet, Buganda caucus chairmen including Tim Lwanga in the 8th parliament as well as Kiwanda Ssuubi the outgoing chairman who recently “earned himself” the portfolio of the state minister for Tourism.
Rubaga North Member of Parliament Moses Kasibante a former employee of the Buganda’s Central Braodcasting Service (CBS) had no kinder words either.
“This is no better than drinking club albeit with loose common interests. We don’t want them (the caucus members) to hoodwink the Baganda, creating an impression that they are standing for the interests of Buganda when in actual fact they are there for the furtherance of NRM’s interest especially at crunch moments where the interests of the two institutions are locked in a conflict,” Kasibante said.
Alleging that NRM predetermined the eventual positions of members on the caucus owing to the influence of numbers, Kasibante was at pain that apart from the geographical location ( of Buganda)shared by NRM members with the rest of the Baganda, they don’t share Buganda’s political opinion.
He was echoed by Busiro County MP and former deputy of Buganda’s Information minister Sseggona Lubega.
“It is another case of divided loyalty between their NRM Party and the Buganda kingdom. I know how it is going to be difficult for my brothers to choose Buganda’s interests ahead of their NRM party but the choice is theirs.” Sseggona said tersely.
But the Spokes person of the caucus Semeo Nsubuga has refuted the allegations as pessimistic reassuring Buganda of unwavering allegiance to the Kabaka from the new caucus vowing to go out of their way to stand for Buganda’s interests.
However, some Baganda MPs citing the writing of the caucus’ constitution prior to the elections have expressed optimism for better things ahead to the contrary.
“This time I am optimistic that things are going to be different now that there is a constitution governing the caucus to which all members have appended their signatures making it a binding document to them all,” said Butambala’s legislator Muwanga Kivumbi.
“I am just waiting for a moment when any of them will begin faltering over Buganda’s interests in the course of any discussion and I will call the office of the Buganda’ attorney General and Katikkiro to take action.” he added.