Tororo county MP, Geoffrey Ekanya, cried in public and tried to commit suicide on the floor of parliament on Wednesday accusing government of refusing to grant his county district status.
The drama re-told
Realising that no one was going to ever take him seriously as far as the district issue is concerned, Ekanya resolved to stage a dramatic improvised “suicide skit” on the floor of parliament.
He actually went for his maroon necktie and started untying it with the sole purpose of “strangling” himself.
Ekanya threatened to go ahead and strip naked prompting the Dokolo Woman MP, Ceciia Ogwal, and Rubaga South MP, Ken Lukyamuzi, who were nearby him to pull him off the floor and sit him down.
Parliament roared with repeated laughter, cheering and jeering.
It was at this point that the presiding Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, advised Ekanya to take his drama to play National Theatre where they act plays.
“If you go beyond verbal expression, I might request you to cross the road and do it at the National Theatre. These matters are serious. There is no point of over dramatising it,” Oulanyah hurried to say.
This seemed to infuriate the MP, the more, and he was back on the floor nearly “tearing himself to pieces”.
This time he removed his coat/jacket and continued exchanging hotly with the speaker.
“Hon member the point is made,” Oulanyah, hurried to point out, adding, “Hon Ekanya you turning this House into a theatre. There is a limit as to what this House can take.”
It was then that the former Leader of Opposition and Budadili West MP, Nandala Mafabi, and Kitgum Woman MP, Beatrice Anywar, reached out and restrained Ekanya.
It took about 10 MPs to calm Ekanya down; it was Cecilia who kept patting his back and soothing him the way a mother does to lull a baby to sleep.
According to URN, the drama cost parliament about seven minutes as Ekanya continued to wrestle away from his restraining colleagues before Mafabi showed him out of the house.
Why Ekanya nearly killed himself
In his submission on the floor, Ekanya said government was being unfair to Tororo and he sought to know why.
“Our people ate rats [have gone through a lot] in order to get district,” he said.
“Hon Speaker I feel like committing suicide on this floor because this matter is so serious, what is the use of me being a member of parliament if my people cannot get a district? How?! For 20 years. How can that be?” Ekanya asked Oulanyah.
Other MPs from Tororo including; Fox Odoi representing West Budama North, Oboth Oboth representing West Budama South and Sanjay Tana representing Tororo municipality put up a spirited debate demanding for the creation of districts.
They said the list of new districts presented to parliament excludes Tororo.
West Budama North MP Fox Odoi noted that close to 20 years it has been a position of government that Tororo gets another a district but that this position is not reflected in the list of new districts to be created.
“How on earth does it take a minister of government 15 years, 10 years to consult on what is already agreed? Tororo county must have a district of its own. Hon Speaker, you know Tororo county also asked for a municipality. Malaba is a gateway into Uganda, the biggest border point we have with Kenya.”
He continued: “Malaba is not anywhere on the list of municipalities agreed. So what is your problem with Tororo County? Rt Hon Speaker we also asked for Nagongera municipal council, we have not seen it anywhere. We are not reflected on the list of districts, we are not reflected on the list of municipalities or counties. Are we not part of this country?”
However, the Local Government Minister Adolf Mwesige said that he cannot amend the government motion on districts to accommodate Tororo citing that Tororo has not yet built consensus on the creation of districts.
“What the leaders of Tororo are not telling this House is how they have arrived at the consensus; one of naming the district; two – determining which part of Tororo will fall where. Three; of determining the headquarters of the two districts once a new district is created out of Tororo. That consensus we don’t have in the ministry up to now,” Mwesige told the House.
After about 30 minutes, Ekanya appeared again on the floor and apologised for ‘losing his temper’ during the debate.
He told plenary to excuse him “for losing myself” because “the issue caused tribal tensions.”
In 2006, then 79-year-old John Ojim Omoding momentarily persuaded President Museveni, with a live rat eating antic, to carve a new district out of Tororo.
Government through Local Government Minister on Tuesday tabled a new motion detailing a road-map for creation new districts in the next four financial years.
For this financial year, Kagadi, Kakumiro, Omoro and Rubanda will be elevated to district status.
The those are deemed to have been operational effective July 1 2016.