Former Ethics and Integrity minister Hon Miria Matembe nearly came to a neck-gripping moment with government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa last night.
The two were discussing the proposed Constitution Amendment Bill 2016 on NBS TV’s “NBSFrontline” programme hosted by Charles Odongtho.
The bill proposed by Nakifuma County MP, Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleko, seeks to introduce an open term for commissioners under the Electoral Commission and raise the retirement age for judicial officers, among others.
It also seeks to scrap the presidential age limit [75 years] as proposed by the constitution of Uganda.
Interestingly, Ssekitoleko who is championing the prickly bill dodged the hot debate when invited by NBS TV last evening for “fear of being roasted”, according to host Odongtho.
It was also noted that Speaker Rebecca Kadaga insisted on having the bill go to the order paper only to sneak out of the country before it could be tabled.
According to Matembe, whenever there is a controversial item, the Speaker is conveniently away thus letting her deputy to take over.
Nankabirwa informed Matembe that the Speaker was away in Mauritius but had not dodged plenary as suggested.
“Why is the Speaker even allowing an item that the government is not interested in? I know how these things work?” Matembe queried.
Nankabirwa who had earlier said government was not fronting the bill instead looked on tight-lipped.
“Please stop looking at me like that,” Matembe lashed at Nankabirwa as the air in the studios grew hostile.
Nankabirwa [irritated] responded: “Do you know how you look yourself?”
Matembe: “I see my sister Nankabirwa looking at me not amused, don’t worry you will be amused.”
Nankabirwa: “I hope you don’t terrorise me the way you terrorised David Bahati [who proposed the anti-gay bill back in 2009].”
Matembe: “I can, don’t joke!”
Nankabirwa then turned the moderator for protection but Matembe was not done yet.
“Why should this motion waste parliament time? Is it a priority?” Matembe pushed on.
She added: “You have listened to my sister, she says government doesn’t know about this Bill so they are waiting to find a ready package?”
Hon Nankabirwa explained that there is no bill that can pass without the support of two thirds of parliament.
“Matembe was not kind to Deputy Speaker by saying he has no shame,” Nankabirwa pointed out.
Matembe then said she wanted to ask Kafeero who had dodged the discussion why he should be the one to bring this bill wondering whether it was connected to the expensive cars the president is buying for MPs.
But Nankabirwa quickly interjected saying the issue of cars is not in line with Hon. Kafeero Sekitoleko’s motion.
Matembe then revealed that when “these people” [MPs] went to Kyankwanzi, whatever it is, it’s when the age limit ‘thing’ came in.
“I don’t believe in this ‘still energetic’ thing. Isn’t Matembe energetic? Why did they throw me out?”
Now very upset, Nankabirwa asked Charles Odongtho, the moderator, to draft rules for #NBSFrontline accusing Matembe of saying “nonsense”.