HOUSE OF MPIGS!!
The parliament of Uganda needs a serious soul search. When Hon Mwijukye Francis stated that the masses have lost trust and faith in Parliament, he was not far off the point. Here is the reality. Uganda’s economy is hurting. Everything is slow. People are desperate because they do not have money. The 1% upper class and the 2% regime Leeches have all the money stashed in their foreign accounts or in transit, being withdrawn from the Uganda’s economy. The bank interests rates are criminally high and yet, the truth is, the working class, what would pass for both the white and blue collar workers, are heavily indebted. They have loans of all sorts and variations, moreover with various interest rates and terms of payments. No one working class is debt free. Here comes the Parliament, the branch of government which should have been independent, but is not. It is fused with to the Executive through the person of the anti-Uganda dictator at the waist, close enough to the pockets but a little space off from the facet where the Judiciary is also attached, dependently onto this Anti-People dictator.
To scorn the people of Uganda, the Parliament has not shied from a spending spree. They have secured the money to spend from the taxpayers; they are badly in need of spending it. Even a funeral of the fly, you will find a minimum of 7 MPs sponsored by the house. The money itches them like a bedbug bite. Now here, they spend this, for car loans, then they spend that for Funerals (as if they were sent there to die instead of improving social conditions to increase health of the people and quality of life. These would increase the life expectancy). These MPs even beg death to visit them concomitantly so they can spend money. That money.
It is such a insensitivity that has placed this Parliament at odds with many suffering Ugandans.
The money siphoned off the economy for the dictator to rig the past elections, and whatever has been pumped into the economy do not add up. Here, pay heed to the plight of those Ugandans who, for reasons not of their own, have to endure the agonizing humiliation of cancer pains, sudden death during delivery, road carnage, etc. Figure that out with the money that the Parliament itches so badly to spend on buying coffins and bijanjalo ( beans) for funerals of MPs who have not even died – yet!! I sincerely wish them the real death, if possible, and I have no regret for this. How many of Ugandans must die first from Cancer while Parliament is spending Shs 600m on Medals and Shs 2billions on this, and Shs, 200m per MP on Cars? ,68 million each set aside for their own funerals .And they want to teach us Patriotism — to love the exploiter?
We really have very insensitive MPs, but why do we elect them over and over again? It is nothing, but pure ignorance! But education is not just about going through school and universities.
Members as you know, ignorance and subjectivity can be very costly in democracy. This is compounded by subjective mob-action (mobocracy) and money-led power (moneycracy). It can be catastrophic for the people, if the situation is not arrested early enough.
It can be so foolish, that to illustrate the point, I remember some voters, in Bunyoro, used to retort to my advice to void properly with the answer that: “Nwoye …” nanka (some candidate), “nobwanyampa miira bumira” (literary for them, even if a certain candidate (names withheld) fat, they would just swallow). Such is how low we can go when ignorance is allowed to rule in a ‘democracy’.
Ignorance sets up a chain of vicious cycle (a string of bad things) you can later not easily control as we are seeing today. Let us look at how ignorance may affect our representation in parliament alone; especially if we choose to swallow the fats of both presidents and MPs as it breeds insensitive, callous, greedy, narcissist and ignorant leadership or a kakistocracy (rule by the worst citizens).
I will limit my discussion to two possible types of MPs representation, in order for us to be able to tell what we could have voted for unknowingly:
- THE TRUSTEE MODEL AND ITS REALITIES
In this case, the elected should MPs ideally, have better education and be more informed and more understanding than the majority of the electorate they represent, as they are considered to be less fortunate.
This model assumes that the general public are ill-educated and ill-informed and it also assumes that education of the MP assists them in making moral decisions, which makes the more educated MPs more likely to want to perform citizenship duties, and to empower the less fortunate.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH THIS MODEL?
The problem is that MPs will exercise their own judgment and do not necessarily have to represent the interests of the electorate, especially if they are selfish and uncouth. We are left at their mercy and goodwill. This is what happens when we rely on independent MPs or representatives.
HOW AND WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN?
In this case, it is expected that MPs would use ‘mature judgment’ and ‘enlightened conscience’. But is this possible with human nature that is selfish as “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton).
The trustee model suggests that the MP has a formal responsibility for the affairs of others (the people). In other words, the MPs should act wisely on the electorates’ behalf, rather than simply reflecting voters’ views. (All these are in the views explained by Edmund Burke and J.S. Mill).
Now members, as we mourn, if I may ask, according to Articles 79 (functions of parliament) and 80 (Qualifications and disqualifications of members of parliament);
- How much scrutiny do we give to those individuals we entrust our well-being with? Whether, they are of sound mind or the capacity to think and articulate issues on our behalf?
- Do we check their background and state of mind every time we decide to entrust our Mps with our interests?
- Are they really more educated or educated enough, than the majority of the electorate or they are just capable of buying us?
- Do they have integrity (Moral-uprightness or crooked histories?).
This is what I mean, when I say the people deserve the leaders they elect to represent them-if you are careless or careful, that is what you get!
If we can answer these questions, I see no reason why we should not blame these MPs for failing to deliver.
- THE MANDATE MODEL AND ITS REALITIES
When we talk of the mandate model, the assumption is that individual MPs, as members of a larger organization, community, party or movement has received a mandate (authority) from the electorate, and he/she can only implement policies within the manifesto of the organization or community.
In practice, it means that MPs would be restricted to the decision-making based on the promises that they have already made- in either community contract or party manifesto to which they belong.
These conditions, give the MPs the opportunity to react to new circumstances or new issues, according to earlier commitments. In effect, any decision contrary or in addition to the manifesto of the social contract or party (movement) manifesto would not have been endorsed by the voters, who supported the organization/party that sponsored the MP.
HOW AND WHY THIS IS SO?
Like in the case of all our MPs in Bunyoro, they have been elected on the basis of the NRM party manifesto (for the last 30 years) rather than as an individual.
Whether, there is an open or hidden agenda of the party you support, to neglect you or improve on your conditions as a constituency, bribe MPs /buy them expensive cars-the people will have little to say or do; and this also depend on the type of government the ruling party puts in place.
Now my questions are:
- While voting, under the party umbrella, what did we really expect?
• Have you ever taken time to find out, why our MPs cannot even talk about land grabbing, oil and gas or the poor education in Bunyoro?
• Is it not, we who overwhelmingly, either vote the less educated, empowered, or NRM/ party that control our MPs?
• How can we make the MPs independent, in order for them to serve nothing but their own judgment?
- THE CURRENT POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT?
Most of our MPs are now caught in the crossfire.
While blaming our representatives, there is also the need to know that, to some extend these MPs also reflect a range of different types of people and interests and societies. As individuals, they also have different motives and reasons for seeking to become MPs. Hence, unless you enter a social contract with them, in advance, you never know why will just go and have a field day. I do not want to speculate in this case, but, let us explore the political environment in which our MPs operate:
- Consequently, the absence of self-determination, solidarity and social identity, a clear agenda, puts both individuals (the led and the leaders) and resources, in a very awkward and vulnerable position within the prescribed order. This equally destroys the respect, authority, command and competitiveness of our representatives-hence the lame-duck-like MPs.
To conclude, for now, given this type of environment, if we cared to analyse our current national politics, we could possibly redistribute our failed civic responsibility much more objectively. Whether, the parliament really functional in the real sense? Whether we have democracy in parliament or a mob-power (mobocracy) of less thinking and subjectively elected MPs?
What about the type of government in place?
Is it not authoritarian rule that we have? Is it not a personal despotism (a personality cult)? Is it not, a system with a single individual owing allegiance to no institution rules (parliament inclusive), depending on cultivating fear and strategic rewards, relying on a personal security force to maintain power? How does your MP fit in?
I think if we can answer all these questions, we may avoid the blandness of singularity, in blaming the MPs alone, and by the end, I am confident we shall be marching in a new direction calling for a revolution from below and not a reformation from the top. The solutions seem to be from below. We, who are most hit by this greed, together with a different breed of leaders, can think otherwise.
So ladies and gentlemen which type of MP did you elect?
The article was jointly written by;
Both are executive member of Uganda Diaspora P10