Bodyguards of Buganda Katikkiro (Prime Minister) Charles Peter Mayiga on Sunday, October 1 stepped in to save Kabula MP James Kakooza from angry youths during a funeral at Nakawanga village in Lwengo district.
Kakooza had joined colleagues who travelled to the dusty village for the burial of Vincent Nsamba, father of Masaka municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga.
Among the nearly 20 MPs at this funeral, many of whom wore red head bands and caps to express their opposition to a bill seeking to amend the constitution and remove presidential age limits, Kakooza was the only lawmaker known to support the amendment.
He came in late. When the master of ceremonies, Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Sseggona, announced his arrival, mourners went wild, demanding that he leaves the function but organisers led him to a safe place behind the priests.
But the mourners insisted that Kakooza, known for leading the push to scrap presidential term limits in 2005, was not fit to be at this highly political funeral. Mpuuga stepped in.
“There are so many people in NRM who are held hostage by the regime and are desirous of being liberated; Hon Kakooza is one of them,” Mpuuga said.
Mpuuga spoke after Kira municipality MP Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda and former FDC president Dr Kizza Besigye had seemed to urge their audience to turn against those who promote Museveni’s agenda.
Besigye said such leaders ought to be treated as outcasts.
“Focus now should be on those leaders who have betrayed the country; it is time for each one of us to show on which side they are…whether on the side of the people or you are siding with the captors, and those working with the captors should stand away from those of us who are fighting for the common good,” Besigye said.
From the relative safety of his seat behind the priests, Kakooza smiled sheepishly as four-time former FDC presidential candidate Col Kizza Besigye paid tribute to the anti-amendment MPs for the fight they put up in Parliament last week and for coming up with the red band solidarity symbol.
“The red is meant to tell the story of our history and the journey ahead of us; it tells a message that it is time to stop, the red light tells [Museveni] to stop…Togikwatako [don’t touch it],” Besigye, who wore the red band at a media event over the weekend, said.
He said he is happy with the level of determination among Ugandans.
“They are taking around their amendment on land but wherever they went, they met stiff resistance until when [Museveni] decided to market it himself but still he is not finding it easy,” Besigye said.
KATIKKIRO WEIGHS IN
Speaking after a challenge from Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, the Katikkiro warned of the dangers, which lie ahead.
“Politics is not a game as some want to portray it; politics if mis-handled, can lead to loss of lives… Uganda needs serious politicians but not players in politics. At the moment, Uganda needs politicians that are consistent because an inconsistent politician can’t take Uganda anywhere,” Mayiga said.
Mayiga struggled to calm the mourners when he said that inconsistent MPs do not deserve the title. As the casket containing Nsamba’s remains was rolled to the grave, a group of youths donning green T-shirts with red ribbons tied around their heads and arms went and camped near Kakooza’s car.
Kakooza’s aide who had remained inside the car, alerted the legislator’s police guard who sought the assistance of the Katikkiro’s guards.
“Before going to the burial of [Masaka Municipality MP Mathias] Mpuuga’s father, I already had intelligence information about that group [that wanted to harm me] because we know where they came from and how they travelled to that place,” Kakooza said.
Despite having guards, Kakooza told this writer that he sought for the assistance of the Katikkiro’s guards to drive away his car.
DP president general Norbert Mao said opposition political parties are working together in this fight.
“The president has two options; one, to respect the constitution and serve out his last term. Secondly, to go on with the current machinations and we forcefully drive him out of power,” Mao said.
The politicians spoke after Rev Fr Henry Kasule, the parish priest of Kitovu parish, and Rev Fr George William Lubega spoke against the amendment.
At a night vigil mass, Fr Kasule spoke against the removal of the age limit before Fr Lubega referred to the 2005 statement by Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala against scrapping of the two-term limit.
Lubega thanked MPs opposed to the age limit removal for “fighting for constitutional governance in Uganda” adding that Mpuuga’s father had died a miserable man since he passed on when the constitution is being changed to suit an individual’s wishes.