MPs don yellow to honour Abiriga
At 11am on Sunday, fallen Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga’s body was wheeled into Parliament for a special sitting to pay tribute the MP who largely became more pronounced because of his yellow outfits.
Inside the Parliamentary chamber, several MPs from across the political divide wore yellow dresses and shirts, others had either a yellow necktie, carnations or a headband.
“I decided to put on a yellow necktie to honour my friend Hon Abiriga,” FDC’s Elijah Okupa (Kasilo MP) said as he rose to pay attribute to the retired soldier who was gunned down on Friday evening.
Yellow had become his trademark that he could hardly move without anything yellow on him.
He always wore specially tailored yellow kaunda suits complimented with yellow shoes, socks and a cap.
Yellow also defined his home that everything that he used at home – caps, plates, bedsheets and tablecloths were all yellow.
Talk of his strong support for the NRM and its chairman, President Yoweri Museveni dominated the speeches in Parliament with Okupa challenging his NRM counterparts on whether they could match the dead MP.
“During the Age Limit debate, some of you in NRM were shy to say what you believed in, he was never shy to say what he believed in. He was never shy, he couldn’t lie nor pretend about anything,” Okupa said.
The chairman of the Parliamentary Muslim caucus Hood Katuramu (People with Disabilities MP) described Abiriga as a man with three rare qualities of humility, humbleness and calmness.
The Leader of Opposition in Parliament Winnie Kiiza spoke of Abiriga as a friendly man who was hard to annoy.
“His death should not be politicised, in him, we had a unifying factor,” Kiiza said.
She took Parliament back to the days of child ritual murders, the mysterious killing of Muslim clerics, Joan Kagezi and former police spokesman AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi to the recent spate of kidnaps and killings to call on Parliament to speak out.
“We have been treated to the same rhetoric of we shall bring the (criminals) to book but nothing is being done. Let us rise up to the occasion and speak out against the killings, killing has no colour, the killers have no shame,” Kiiza said.
She spoke after Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda had assured Parliament that government will hunt down Abiriga’s killers and bring them to book.
NO WREATHS, NO VIEWING
There was a change in the norm known at state funerals especially when the body is laying in state.
In accordance to Islamic religious principles, Abiriga’s body was not opened for public viewing.
Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Janet Kataha Museveni, Rugunda and other dignitaries were only led to sign the condolence book and later paid their respects.
Some who had come with wreaths were also told to keep them away. This sounded strange to many until Speaker Rebecca Kadaga announced in the House that wreaths were not allowed as per the Islamic practice.