NRM ‘rebel’ MPs take on Ruth Nankabirwa
Within hours after Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa told journalists that some NRM MPs who opposed the lifting of the presidential age limits had approached her to apologise, the ‘rebel’ MPs hit back, challenging her to release the list and photos of those that went to apologise.
Nankabirwa on Wednesday morning told journalists at Parliament’s conference hall that the group of 27 NRM MPs that opposed the bill had approached her to fix an appointment with President Yoweri Museveni – the NRM party chairman to express their regrets.
Nankabirwa declined to name names but said that she was working on the appointment with the president.
“The time now is for calming the situation, do you want me to begin telling you that so and so came and a apologised? I think that would worsen the situation,” Nankabirwa said.
Moments later, MPs Monica Amonding (Kumi Woman), Patrick Nsamba Oshabe (Kassanda North), Johnson Muyanja Ssenyonga (Mukono South) and John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya) addressed a press conference at the Members’ lounge at Parliament to hit back at Nankabirwa.
“There is nothing to regret, there is nothing to apologise about because we did nothing wrong,” Amoding said.
The Kumi Woman MP said that much as they see nothing wrong with meeting the president, the terms of their meeting must be clear.
She insisted that they had not met Museveni, and don’t intend to meet him to apologise.
Talk of the ‘rebel’ MPs alleged meeting with Nankabirwa started on a whatsApp group of the MPs where it was claimed that they had received $50,000 (Shs 187.5m) which Nsamba Oshabe is intended to blackmail them.
“If we rejected the Shs 200m and go with the views of our people, how can we turn around and accept $50,000 which is a lesser amount?” Oshabe wondered.
“I’m not sorry for representing the views of my people. I don’t know what kind of person that Ruth Nankabirwa is. Instead of working towards reconciliation in the caucus because it is divided, she has turned to blackmailing us,” Oshabe said.
Nambeshe on his part said it is better for Nankabirwa to name the venue, names of the MPs that apologised to her.
The NRM parliamentary caucus got sharply divided in the run up to the December 21 passing of the Constitutional Amendment Bill that scrapped age limits and also extended the term of local governments leaders and that of MPs from five to seven years.
The chaotic scenes that characterised the process resulted in the suspension from the NRM caucus of some 27 MPs who opposed the bill.