It is the 27th of February, 2015 and the long awaited day is finally upon us. Definitely at a small cost of…ahem, a few billion shillings. There is absolutely no question whether the “few billion shillings might have been put to better use. What better use is there other than securing the “powerful” cars our Members of Parliament drive and securing their only recently acquired iPads. Oh, did I mention, the ever growing pot bellies? They too, must be secured.
Remember this is Africa and Uganda if I am to be specific, the health and above all, wealth or better still, well doing of an individual especially a man, is measured in their body size. The fatter (for lack of a better word I will use that), is the healthier and wealthier. Do not tell us about obesity. So we must ensure the protruding wealth (potbellies of our high and mighty) are secured.
Anyhow, a new dawn has been ushered into Uganda’s legislative assembly. That is what most Ugandans believe. Not us on the outside of Uganda’s legislative chambers of course, I mean those inside parliamentary premises. They are frothing about their new security system.
Thanks to ZTE, the Chinese firm that cut its teeth in Uganda courtesy of the pocket friendly phone dubbed the “Kabiritti” that were peddled by telecom giant, MTN about 8 years ago, Uganda’s parliament now boasts of a new security system, that came with a new electronic voting system only months after the very same parliament got a new parking lot at a “few billion shillings” of course.
I will not go into specific accounts of different legislators highlighting the deep sigh of relief that the new installations did bring on the day of their launch. I too would sigh to know that I’m in the very least secure from a pig invasion like the one that occurred in 2014. Not that pigs come bearing demons but you see, suits are the uniform at parliament, you would want to see me on the floor of parliament with a soiled suit because I had to ward off pigs at before making my way to the chambers. So, please confer with members of parliament. But only halfheartedly.
Unless you too can only look as far and wide as your nose or in the very best, beyond your potbelly if you do have one.[related_posts]
While it is true parliament was insecure as was highlighted by the pig invasion in 2014, this should be the least of our worries. There are, in my view, worse security threats to the pigs that ended up at parliament’s doorstep in 2014. By ensuring pigs do not set foot in the gates of parliament ever again is as good as dressing up a rotting wound. There are much more lethal threats to our legislative assembly other than swines. They are not literally threats as per say but metaphorically speaking; they are a much more dangerous threats to legislation.
Our very own members of parliament are the threat here. Unknown to them, they are a threat to themselves and, not forgetting us. Firstly, are the hecklers, those whose job to loudly silence any idea that may in the long run restore sanity in this country. Their numbers have grown. They only show up to gazump sanity with a whole load of noise. Of course, sanity cannot stand against hooliganism. It crumbles even before it can stand. That is how much needed laws end up in the chest of their makers rather than the floor of parliament for comprehensive deliberation.
Second in line, are the paupers: Those whose duty is to show up at parliament to sign for sitting allowance or any other “small monies” left to rescue them from financial abyss. They mortgage their souls so that they could make it to parliament. Whilst their salary scale is fit to burst as compared to that of other civil servants, they know nothing about it. It legally belongs to moneylenders around the country and banks. Their payday is not the official pay day but that day when they can squeeze a bribe out of a Ugandan under probe. I hope the glaring corruption scandal against a committee that probed UMEME is still fresh in your mind. Now, here is the tipping point, how do you expect a man who cannot say nay to kitu kidogo (a bribe) to not sell out his kinsmen? If one wants to change anything about the law of our land, such a man would be their go to man. If I may say, such a man is only as good as a prostitute. He is eagerly awaiting to sell his integrity his next customer. Those are some of our custodians of the law.
Then there is a group that has been referred to as “potato growers” by their very own colleague. These are as good as the peasant somewhere in the remotest part of the country. They are in parliament to make numbers especially for the ruling party. They only talk when they are exchanging pleasantries with colleagues in the corridors of parliament. When it is time to deliberate on matters of the state, they take a back seat and meditate (read sleep). I will assume they are meditating about their potatoes back home. This is the new breed of legislator. Their presence can only be found on the roll call sheet. That is where their presence is felt most. But those are the people steering this country.
Lastly, the mother of security threats to parliament is you and of course me. We are the electorate and only have ourselves to blame for having hecklers, clowns, paupers and potato growers in parliament. We stupidly voted them into their portfolios. And for what? A kilo of sugar, a bar of soap and 250 grams of salt sachet. We are the reason as to why parliament is a mess.
Having the latest CCTV cameras and metal detectors will not secure parliament but rather having the right characters in the parliamentary chambers. If the essence of being in parliament is not observed then it doesn’t matter how many more “few billion” shillings are injected in “securing” parliament, we are doomed if we are not done with them. That is the only security there can be.