President Museveni has said he did nothing wrong by giving each NRM MP Shs5 million ahead of the voting for the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
According to Mr Museveni, the money was not a bribe but he was only trying to “rescue” the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Members of Parliament (MPs) from society’s daily demands.
“The politics has been messed up quite a bit by the new politicians. I know the pressures they are having. That is not corruption. That is helping them cope with the problems of the society,” Mr Museveni said.
The President added that he didn’t sell his cattle to get the money but fundraised from sources he did not name.
Mr Museveni was in Parliament in an unprecedented attendance to witness the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker and also to conduct them into their seats and give them the instruments of power.
Although the Oaths Act gives the President powers to attend and do exactly that, Mr Museveni said he chose to attend to ensure that the NRM legislators did not deviate from the agreed line of voting for Mr Oulanyah as Deputy Speaker, a test, he said, the legislators passed.
“To go to a party caucus and legally take a decision and then you come to Parliament and go against it would be a recipe for disorder in our democracy and I came to sit here and see if you would pass the test or not. I am very happy that Parliament has passed the test. I congratulate this Parliament,” he said.
Members who supported Mr Nsereko contend that the Shs5m that the president gave was to compel the legislators to vote for Mr Oulanyah and that the President came to attend to scare the MPs into accountability.
However, the President who described Mr Oulanyah as a person who is far from being a puppet said party indiscipline makes him wonder whether the country should go back to a one party system.
He displayed to MPs a photo of the first Parliament of 1962 and reminded them of the crisis that gripped the country in the early independence days, warning them to ensure that stability prevails.
“They were young. However, in no time, the country and its entire system had collapsed as if there was a witch doctor,” he said. The message was that young MPs should not conduct Parliament with excitement.
Aiming a veiled barb at Mr Nsereko, who refused to listen to his calls to withdraw from the deputy speakership race, the President said children should always listen to their elders and a child who doesn’t always “has something wrong with him.”
Mr Museveni also defended the size of Parliament saying he has no apologies for supporting the creation of new constituencies and promised to interface with the Speaker and Deputy Speaker over funding for a new Chamber to accommodate the increase in MPs’ numbers.
“The big Parliament is a Parliament of liberation. I have no apologies. We shall handle the big numbers. I just ask them to be patriotic,” Mr Museveni said.
Mr Nsereko lost to Mr Oulanyah at 115 for 300. Rebecca Kadaga retained the Speaker’s position after sailing through unopposed. He accepted defeat saying he contested on the side of democracy and democracy won.
“The 115 people asked me not to betray their trust and I didn’t,” he said as he asked for increased welfare for the MPs,” he said.
After emerging victor in the only contest of the day, Mr Oulanyah who earlier had his eyes set on the speaker only to be told to bark down said the contest “greatly humbled” him.