Posts tagged as: parliament

Museveni’s Long March to Power

Photo: The Independent

President Yoweri Museveni

analysisBy Baker Batte Lule

As the debate on Raphael Magyezi’s bill to amend Article 102(b) rages, BAKER BATTE LULE looks back at the journey President Museveni has walked to where he is now.

Some pundits refer to his 31 years in power as a life presidency project. That from the outset, Museveni was never going to let go of the presidency.

The carrot and stick have been applied at different points to overcome obstacles to this alleged project.

We start with the first four years after the NRM/A shot its way into office in 1986 when the new government issued Legal Notice No. 1. The notice decreed that the interim government would be in place for only four years, following which a general election would be called in 1989.

However, in the same year, President Museveni, who was the chairman of the NRA [now UPDF] and National Resistance Council [now parliament], shifted.

He told his then minister of Justice and attorney general, George Wilson Kanyeihamba, to draft justifications for the extension of the NRC and its executive arm for another five years until a new constitution under which general elections would be held had been written.

Kanyeihamba, now a retired Supreme court judge, told The Observer recently that there were justifiable reasons for the extension of Museveni’s tenure then. But these reasons no longer exist today, Kanyeihamba says.

“When the Movement came, they had given themselves four years but that was idealistic. Museveni entrusted me to articulate the views why the NRM should extend for another five years. I did; you don’t have to believe my word, go to the NRM secretariat [and check what I said],” Kanyeihamba said.

Today, the retired judge finds himself vehemently opposed to his former boss’ determination to lift age limits from the constitution and remove the last thing standing in the way of a potential presidency for life. Kanyeihamba says the issues which necessitated extending Museveni’s tenure 28 years ago have long disappeared.

“For the president who has served the country for over 30 years making decisions day and night; he is physically and mentally exhausted…,” he said.

In the then expanded National Resistance Council of 270 members, only one member, Joseph Wasswa Ziritwawula opposed the 1989 extension. He famously walked out, resigning his seat as NRC member representing a Kampala constituency.

Ziritwawula has long retreated from active politics. However, in an interview with a local daily, the former Kampala mayoral candidate said he would still resign if the same situation played out now.

“Proclamation No. 1 of 1986, put it that the government would be in power for four years after which they would hold elections. Which they didn’t do,” Ziritwawula said.

“I was saying that parliament (NRC) could not extend its term. It is like parliament sitting today and deciding to extend its term. That is not its mandate; it’s the mandate of the people. Giving a period for government is a mandate of the whole population; not a mandate of parliament,” he said.

LIFTING OF TERM LIMITS

The NRC later approved the Uganda Constitutional Commission headed by former Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki to collect people’s views about the new constitution which was debated and promulgated by the Constituent Assembly in 1995. In there, it had article 105 (b) limiting a person eligible for election as president to two five-year terms.

In the subsequent elections of 1996, a still popular President Museveni defeated his closest rival, the opposition coalition candidate, Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere by 75 percent.

Five years on in 2001, he returned to the people with an election manifesto built around the need to professionalise the armed forces ahead of the transition to full civilian rule.

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Museveni said he was standing for his last term. But his former bush war comrade, retired colonel Dr Kizza Besigye, said the Museveni he knew would not keep his word.Besigye had just quit the Movement which he said had been turned into an undemocratic and intolerant thing that no longer stood for the ideals which informed the bush war struggle for good governance.Indeed, one year into what would have been his final term, voices calling for the scrapping of term limits started gaining currency. In March 2003, the Movement National Executive Committee sitting at Kyankwanzi National Leadership Institute formally adopted the proposal to ditch term limits.This development so angered some of his lifetime allies, including childhood friend Eriya Kategaya who had been sold on ‘running for my last term’ pitch.Ministers Amanya Mushega, Richard Kaijuka, Matthew Rwikikaire, Miria Matembe, Bidandi Ssali and Sarah Kiyingi joined up with such regime luminaries as Major John Kazoora, former army commander Major General Mugisha Muntu and abandoned ship.Some helped form what eventually evolved into the Forum for Democratic Change political party. Others simply just quit active politics.The most visible proponents for that proposal were former vice president, Gilbert Balibaseka Bukenya; former prime minister Amama Mbabazi, his sister-in-law Hope Mwesigye; Kabula MP James Kakooza and Hanifah Kawooya, the Ssembabule Woman MP.But as fate would have it, some of the very proponents of term limits removal woke up to a sobering reality. Bukenya, although known for flip-flopping, recently told this newspaper how he regretted his role in removing term limits in 2005.”I think if we are talking about constitutional amendments, it should be on how to restore term limits, not to lift age limits,” he said. “As the 7th parliament, we made a mistake by lifting term limits; the 10th parliament should avoid committing the same mistake.”While campaigning for president last year, Mbabazi also admitted an error in judgement in 2005 when they lifted term limits.”Although I fought for the removal of term limits, I’m now a changed man and a better person. In my first term in office, we shall restore the two term limits,” Mbabazi was quoted saying in Teso sub-region.Speaking to The Observer on Wednesday, Kakooza said looking back, he is still proud of the role he played. Like Raphael Magyezi whose private member’s bill is today at the vanguard of this unpopular push against article 102(b), Kakooza became the mouthpiece of the term limits agenda.”Democracy is growing in this country and now people understand why and whom to vote for. How can I regret that choice I made? Actually, I’m very happy now because people by then were thinking that the constitution cannot be amended. It was a taboo talking about constitutional amendment,” Kakooza said.”The constitution grows; so, it must be aligned to the prevailing environment. But when I started saying that we can amend it in 2003, people were saying ‘no way’,” Kakooza said.Daniel Omara Atubo, former minister of Lands and MP for Otuke, said he warned the country in 2005 that lifting term limits was the beginning of a life presidency project.”Term limits were removed amidst very strong opposition from the people of Uganda. Underhand methods were used mainly through bribery and change of rules of parliament from secret ballot to open voting. It’s that method of work that has undermined democracy in this country,” Atubo said.Movement MPs received Shs 5 million to facilitate their vote to scrap article 105(2) on term limits. Even more money could yet change hands this time. Atubo has had an on-and-off relationship with Museveni: joining his government (state minister for defence) in the early years from the Uganda Peoples Congress as part of an experiment in ‘broadbased’ politics.Getting arrested, jailed and humiliated at the height of the northern insurgency, before reverting to the UPC and then enduring a stint as land minister post-2011.He points out that the country is going through the darkest period in its political life today.”As a person who was a member of the Constituent Assembly, there were very strong reasons why we put term and age limits in our constitution. The proposals came from the people through the Odoki commission and they sailed through without a lot of effort. Even Museveni and his quislings supported those proposals,” Atubo said on phone from Lira where he is spending his leave from active politics – for now.Like others, he is flabbergasted by what they see as the president’s appetite for power.”Museveni risks being forgotten. The way he is pushing for life presidency even the good work he has done will be erased because the only alternative to remove Museveni will be through violence…which we tried to avoid in our constitution.”Now any mad person like Kony can step in to try and take power by force because that is the only method left to get change,” Atubo said.However, Atubo expressed encouragement at Ugandans’ fierce opposition to the Magyezi bill.”When you look at what is going on in the country, you see that everybody is opposed… you have only a mere 200 crazy members of parliament who … are behind the removal of age limits. I call upon President Museveni and the opportunists around him to see the light however late and reject this proposal.”Hope Mwesigye (one-time minister) who was one of the avid supporters of term limits lifting is very sorry for what she did in 2005.”I trusted Museveni; that he was going to serve one more term and get off but it seems I was duped. He had other plans for life presidency. I regret the role I played and I really want to apologise to the country that it should never have happened,” Mwesigye said.”You know sometimes it’s a poor judgement of character. It hurts when you trust someone and he keeps changing and shifting goal posts… Museveni should not keep on stretching Ugandans’ magnanimity; we loved him, we supported him; so, he should not abuse our magnanimity.”To atone for the damage her actions resulted in, Mwesigye said she has joined like minds in opposing the lifting of limits on age.”At 75 years, surely somebody is already suffering from dementia and clearly he can- not lead the country. I’m going to do whatever it takes to see that this proposal doesn’t go through.”After a heated stand-off, the 7th parliament presided over by then Speaker Edward Ssekandi lifted term limits with 232 MPs for; 50 against and two abstentions by Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki, the former woman MP for Hoima district, and Col Fred Bogere, the former UPDF representative.On the other hand, Betty Amongi, [minister of Lands] Justine Kasule Lumumba[ NRM secretary general] Christopher Kibanzanga [minister of state for Agriculture] in 2005 voted against lifting term limits. They were in opposition then but have changed sides, having succumbed to Museveni’s carrot and stick tactics.

Museveni – Why I Need More Time

Photo: The Independent

President Yoweri Museveni

By Sadab Kitatta Kaaya

President Museveni has reportedly said he has a “mission to accomplish” and this is why he wants parliament to scrap age limits in the constitution for elderly presidential candidates like him.

Before the Friday, October 13 caucus meeting, Museveni had spent the entire week meeting groups of NRM and NRM-leaning MPs to rally support for the bill presently facing a tide of public opposition.

“He told us that his revolutionary struggle is not a mere struggle but a mission that has to be accomplished and therefore cannot be locked out by mere technicalities,” an MP who attended one of the State House meetings told The Observer on Friday.

The president on Friday told the NRM parliamentary caucus in the Office of the President’s conference hall behind the Parliamentary buildings that he is an interested party in Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi’s age limit removal bill.

The caucus meeting was called for Museveni to guide his party MPs about how to conduct their consultations on the bill and avoid the unfolding backlash from a rather agitated population.

Museveni reportedly also spoke about a desire to advance pan-Africanism and the integration of the East African Community.

All these lines formed part of the talking points he handed over to NRM MPs ahead of their consultative meetings which are expected to begin this week.

“He told us to think about the future of Africa; he said we should look at Africa’s strategic thinkers who shouldn’t be locked out because of mere technicalities,” Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa told journalists after the caucus meeting.

As the MPs listened to his arguments, they were also mindful of their political fortunes. Some, like Pamela Kamugo (Budaka Woman) and Ismail Ogama (Lower Madi-Okollo) told him during one of the State House meetings that they risked losing their 2021 re-election bids.

Others, like Thomas Tayebwa, the Ruhinda North MP, told Museveni that as they lift the age limit, they should reinstate the two-term limit.

Museveni reportedly ignored these suggestions, dismissing them as “those small things” that cannot stand in the way of the yet-to-be-concluded revolutionary struggle.

After term limits were controversially scrapped in 2005, Museveni told Ugandans that he was running again in order to professionalize the army, among others.

On Friday, he said: “After 55 years of independence, we are still building institutions in Uganda.”

Museveni is said to have rejected outright the thought of term limit restoration, telling the MPs that he knows of many democracies around the world without term limits.

The MPs, notably Jennifer Nantume Egunyu (Buvuma Woman), told Museveni that their constituents were no longer interested in listening to stories about his African revolutionary struggle, but in issues that affect them.

In response, he encouraged MPs to follow up on the issues affecting their constituents like service delivery, with particular emphasis on the performance of the Universal Primary Education, the health sector and roads.

“That way, you’ll not get into trouble with the electorate, no one will rise up against you,” Museveni reportedly said.

He concluded the Entebbe meetings on Thursday, October 12 when he told the MPs that his initial wish was to subject the amendment to a referendum but was told of a shorter route.

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“Given the history of our struggle, I felt that the people should be consulted [but they told] me that there was a shortcut because a referendum is like going through another election,” Museveni is quoted as having said.”I had been busy with other issues and by the time I got to know about it, these people [promoters of the bill] had moved. Although it was started by an individual, the party should now embrace it and support it,” Museveni further told the MPs.This was after Buliisa MP Stephen Mukitale Birahwa had challenged him on why he had allowed such an important bill to be tabled as a private member’s bill.REBEL MPsFor more than two hours on Friday, the MPs sat waiting for Museveni to arrive for the caucus meeting which had in attendance some rebel MPs.Prior to Museveni’s arrival, agitators of the age limit removal bill lobbied some of the ‘rebel’ MPs but their efforts seemed to be in vain. Hence a warning was issued that the meeting would not tolerate any dissenting views.As soon as Museveni walked into the hall, Nankabirwa made opening remarks, thanking the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga for “doing a good job” on September 27 when she suspended 25 MPs opposed to the bill moments before Magyezi tabled it in Parliament.”Unfortunately, there are some members who are opposed to it [bill] even after the caucus passed a resolution to support the bill,” Nankabirwa said.She went ahead to read out the names of the MPs who were unwanted in the meeting.These were; Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), Monicah Amoding (Kumi Woman), Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga West), Patrick Nsamba Oshabe (Kassanda North) and Felix Okot Ogong (Dokolo South).Others were; Sam Lyomoki (Workers), Louis Mbwatekamwa Gaffa (Kasambya), John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya), Alex Ruhunda (Fort Portal Municipality) and Sylvia Rwabwogo (Kabarole Woman). Their crime is their open opposition to the Magyezi bill and their October 4 letter to Museveni in which they challenged him to disassociate himself from it.Nankabirwa was booed by some as she read out the names but received the support of Evelyn Anite (Koboko Municipality), Doreen Amule (Amolatar Woman), Moses Balyeku (Jinja Municipality West) and Arinaitwe Rwakajara (Workers).The ‘rebel’ MPs protested.”We came here because this is the first time President Museveni is coming here to address the caucus but we also want to know whether the people’s views will be considered during this process,” Ssekikubo said.He also questioned why government had decided to back a private member’s bill instead of constituting a constitutional review commission to generate proposals for amendment. He wondered whether Museveni is willing to respond to their letter.Nankabirwa shot back, telling Ssekikubo that the issue is not before a delegates’ conference but parliament where MPs have a right to take exclusive decisions.Ssekikubo, however, insisted that the people should be fully involved before Museveni threw his weight behind Nankabirwa.”I will respond to your letter but this is a meeting of like minds on the subject matter,” Museveni said.Tinkasiimire joined in, telling Museveni that much as they may not be in agreement, free debate should be allowed.”You seem to have already decided before consulting the people but as far as I am concerned, the organs of the party have not been fully involved,” Tinkasiimire said.The ‘rebel’ MPs were then led out of the conference hall amidst some protestations. James Kaberuka, the Kinkiizi West MP, rose on a procedural point, wondering why a party that he knows to be all-inclusive and one that considers multi-dimensional views was throwing out its members without giving them a fair hearing.”This is an exit meeting to prepare for consultations but it is as if you have already decided on how to proceed with the bill,” the youthful MP who replaced former prime minister Amama Mbabazi as Kinkizi West MP, said.He, however, drew the ire of Nankabirwa who told him that they already know his views on the bill.Museveni then asked him, “Are you with us or against us?”Kaberuka responded, “I am with the people.”Museveni hit back, “If you don’t agree with what the caucus decided, then, you move out.”Kaberuka picked his files and walked to the members’ lounge of parliament where the Ssekikubo group was addressing a press conference.Moments later, they were joined by Maracha East MP James Acidri who walked out of the caucus meeting in protest. At her press conference, Nankabirwa said the ‘rebel’ MPs were thrown out because the meeting had been called to plot against them.”I didn’t want them to be part of my meeting because it was called to lay strategies against their opposition to the bill,” Nankabirwa said.She said their suspension was only limited to that particular meeting although they were likely to face disciplinary action.From the caucus meeting, Museveni went into another meeting at State House Nakasero, which was attended by about nine MPs, among them Peter Ogwang (Usuk), Ibrahim Abiriga (Arua Municipality), Simeo Nsubuga (Kassanda South), Moses Balyeku (Jinja Municipality West) and James Kakooza (Kabula).The strategy meeting ran for more than four hours. Museveni reportedly told the group that he wants the bill passed by the end of November and, therefore, did not want it to take a lot of time in the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee.This was after the group told him that there was no way a parliamentary process could be foregone. The only alternative, the MPs told Museveni, was to force the committee to slash the amount of time it intends to spend conducting public hearings.In its work plan, the committee intends to hold nationwide hearings as well as a benchmarking trip out of the country.”He thinks it is unnecessary for the committee to take that trip because it is time-wasting; we have to get the thing out of the way,” a source said.

Mr President, You Are Right On Bobi Wine

Photo: The Independent

President Yoweri Museveni

By Dr Jimmy Spire Ssentongo

Your Excellency, once again I thank you for the humility and democratic spirit that allows you to respond to people like Bobi Wine (Robert Kyagulanyi) that you would ignore without losing anything.

I hope he does not misconstrue your gesture to think that he is close to being a threat to you. You see, as you observed in your response to him, you are dealing with a generation of indisciplined young people.

Like snakes, they find it okay for the young and old to eat while lying down. It is clearly said that youths are the leaders of tomorrow, but I wonder what makes them behave like they don’t know that it is not yet tomorrow!

Bobi Wine is behaving like the proverbial calf that entered a kraal and peed in the drinking basin while at the same time jumping about and provocatively raising dung dust.

Being the bull in the kraal, you calmly reminded him that he is only a calf. I like the measured and civil language you used to engage with his true lies.

You see, as Nigerians say, it requires a lot of carefulness to kill a fly that perches on the scrotum. Otherwise, it might fly away laughing.

I also attended the said launch of the Nelson Mandela Lecture series at Makerere University where Bobi Wine made a fool of himself telling you nonsense that Mandela sacrificed a lot for South Africa but never developed a sense of exaggerated entitlement when he came to power, only serving one term.

As you observed in your article, such statements were a mark of indiscipline, ignorance and arrogance.

That’s why I liked it when, at the lecture, you responded by patiently taking us through the history of the world – about Egypt before Christ, Marco Polo, Vasco Da Gama, Mau Mau, Bachwezi – before hitting the nail in the waist that staying in power for a short time isn’t a good thing.

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Such wisdom eludes the likes of Bobi Wine who only bleat that they need 21st century solutions to 21st century problems.Obviously, as you observed in your response, Bobi is such a blatant liar that he should be too ashamed of himself to offer you advice.In the 1980s, Bobi told us that the biggest problem of Africa are leaders who overstay in power; in 2001, he told us he was contesting for the last time; a few years back, he said that after 75, he wouldn’t stand again because one is not really fit at that age.We have since proven that all these were lies by this bitter Wine. Yet, he still has the audacity to lecture you about integrity, Your Excellency! Let him first learn the virtue of keeping one’s word before he comes to tell you about sijui honesty.The more he talks, the more he exposes himself. He self-defeatingly brings to life the old African Abirigaic adage that ‘no matter how far you urinate, the last drop always falls at your feet’.I smiled in deep admiration of your wisdom when you reminded him, saying, “There is nothing we cannot answer because there is nothing we cannot address. Even when we underperform, it’s not for lack of knowledge, but for lack of means or lack of devotion by our cadres”.Of course it’s not you, sir; it’s those damn corrupt and incompetent cadres who are kept in government by the likes of Bobi Wine. Again, it’s those cadres without devotion that want to sodomise the Constitution in broad daylight with the gagging support of the police and the military.We know it can’t be you, considering what we know about your commitment to democracy, tolerance, and sober leadership.In your response to this provocative boy, you brilliantly stated: “The age limit debate is starting. I will give my views at the right time. What is not acceptable, however, is intimidation and violence. Those are fascist methods. Let everybody speak his mind freely and without threats”.Yes, you had never given your views about age limit until recently. Instead of waiting until you did, they were busy quoting out of context the things you said in the far past!What you said was that “I don’t think someone (without a revolutionary background) can have the energy to lead after 75 years”. They deliberately leave out the crucial words in brackets! These are the ideologically malnourished saboteurs of progress.They have been acting so violent and intolerant in this debate. You saw how violent they were the other day? Up to now, our NRM MPs are nursing injuries sustained from attacks by those brutes in parliament.Some MPs are still hospitalized! Haven’t you seen the speaker visiting them? Did you see any opposition MP among the injured?We have left them to freely demonstrate in expression of their opposition against removing age limits, but those undemocratic intolerant opposition fellows disperse all our processions in support of amending article 102b! And they expect you, a freedom fighter, to tolerate that fascism?Thanks for assuring him how “We shall confront and defeat anybody who intimidates or threatens our peace”.Nobody – I repeat – nobody can stop us from doing what we choose to do. The Constitution should be changed peacefully without any noise.Whether the public likes it or not, they shouldn’t think they will stop up us from amending it, even if they throw grenades at our homes.If they think they can stop us by chasing us away from their functions, they are mistaken. We shall arrange our own, and they will pay for them.Bobi should stop treating politics like music where every now and again one has to release a song (audio). The president is too busy avoiding the debate yet you keep distracting him. Indiscipline!The author heads the Center for African Studies at Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi.

Law Review Team Faces a Rocky Path

By Gaaki Kigambo

As Uganda’s Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee readies itself to scrutinise the Bill to remove presidential age limits, its composition, the time allotted to it, and the prevailing public mood all seem likely to make the journey ahead anything but pleasant, especially for its proponents.

The decision by the 23-person committee to start public hearings 20 days after it was referred to them on October 5, effectively scuttles its proponents’ plans to have it wrapped up before Christmas.

According to information from the ruling NRM party, the anxieties and excitement of the festive season would help drown out the agitation against the Bill.

The 45 days within which the Rules of Procedure require the committee to report back to the House elapse on December 5. The committee finds this period insufficient.

Festive break

If an extension is granted, it will take the committee process into March 2018 because of the festive break, which usually runs from mid December to early February.

While the Rules of Procedure say a committee may continue to sit even when the House is adjourned, it is unlikely the legal committee will work through the festive season. Any insistence to do so will reignite questions about the urgency of the Bill, which sparked unsightly brawls inside Parliament chambers on September 26 and 27.

Equally, in spite of NRM’s numerical strength on the Committee, it starts out rather disadvantaged. At least three out of its 13 members have publicly opposed the removal of age limits. One seconded the Bill and therefore the Rules bar him from contributing to or voting on it.

According to the rules, committee decisions are by consensus. If that fails then a majority vote of members present obtains. If the votes are equal, the proposal shall be taken to be lost.

Now the sponsor of the Bill Raphael Magyezi plans to petition the Government Chief Whip Rose Nankabirwa and the Speaker of Parliament to reconstitute the committee in order to guarantee an “objective report.”

“Some members have already expressed their rejection of the Bill and they have gone on record in the media on that. So they should step aside from this committee… . I’m not ready to face the committee well aware that some members will not support me,” Mr Magyezi told reporters in Parliament on October 11.

Change members

Parliament rules allow the NRM to change its members on the committee. Yet the opposition says if they do so, it will only expose their panic and further work against them in the public eye.

“You see at the beginning they thought that this matter will be between the NRM and the opposition but then NRM MPs came out and opposed it. Now they don’t trust their own,” said opposition chief whip Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda.

Some NRM MPs both on and off the legal committee who are undecided say their position is dependent upon consultations with their constituents. This is NRM’s third major hurdle.

Formal consultations await the release of “facilitation” worth Ush20 million ($5,460). Yet a few NRM legislators who have attempted to tease out public approval for the Bill have either been stopped in their tracks or roundly told off not to remove the limits.

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Nasa, Jubilee Supporters Face Off in London

Jubilee and opposition supporters staged separate demos in London, UK on Friday.

National Super Alliance (Nasa) supporters held pro-Raila Odinga protests outside the UK Parliament.

Jubilee supporters on the other hand held their demo outside Chatham House where Mr Odinga was giving a speech.

They carried pro-Uhuru Kenyatta placards.

Mr Odinga, in his speech at Chatham House said he will not sign Form24A as he is out of the presidential race.

“Am officially out of the election, no need to sign form 24A,” he told the audience.

A statement from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries commission had indicated that Mr Odinga has to sign the form for him to officially pull out of the race.

Later, the Nasa protesters went to Chatham House where they faced off with Jubilee supports.

Nasa supporters demanded for free and fair elections and were chanting “Uhuru must go”.

Jubilee demonstrators said Mr Odinga should go back to Kenya and subject himself to elections.

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South Africa: Minister Gigaba Tables Section 16 Notice Regarding SAA Bailout

press releaseBy Alf Lees MP

The DA notes that the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, has met the obligation to report to Parliament on the R3 billion bailout National Treasury granted to South African Airways (SAA) – as required by Section 16 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

Minister Gigaba’s report raises some serious questions, which require urgent clarification before the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement is delivered in Parliament.

What exactly is the amount that will constitute the “required equity” that Minister Gigaba refers to in his report? Is it the R 5.2 billion already paid to SAA or the R10 billion that Minister Gigaba and National Treasury have recently said would be required in the 2017/18 financial year?

Another concern to the DA is that the Minister in his report to Parliament, confirmed that banks and other lenders have agreed that they would extend the 31 October 2017 deadline for the repayment of the R5 billion owed to 31 March 2019, on the condition that “the required equity injection into SAA [be] tabled during the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement and approved by parliament”.

It is not practically nor legally possible for Parliament to approve an Appropriation Bill by the 31st of October. It seems that Minister Gigaba assured banks and other domestic lenders that Parliament will approve an equity injection at some date after the 31st of October 2017.

If this is the case it would be a very serious indictment and would simply reinforce the existing perceptions amongst South Africans that Parliament is just a rubber stamp for any and all decisions made by President Zuma and his cabinet.

Further concerns from the report include:

Parliament’s approval of “the required equity injection” is not the only condition made by the lenders. The question is, therefore, what are the other conditions?

Where will the R5 billion come from to pay lenders on 31 of March 2019?

If the payments to SAA are going to be “budget neutral” what are the assets that are going to be sold off? Considering that Telkom withdrew the cautionary issued on the trading of its shares.

It is clear that Minister Gigaba, like an aircraft awaiting permission to land, is in a holding pattern of buying time for SAA to temporarily continue flying. The losses, by Gigaba’s own admission, will continue to mount up and will require further cash bailouts within the next two months in order to avoid the liquidation of SAA.

Quite clearly, even with the latest bailout of R3 billion SAA is still not a Going Concern. And will not be able to cover the losses in October let alone for the last four months of the current financial year. Once again the tabling of SAA’s annual report and its Annual General Meeting will be delayed. Allowing Dudu Myeni to remain in control and evade her much needed exit from the SAA board.

The DA remains convinced that the only logical action for the Minister to take is to put SAA into business rescue in order to stabilise it and then to sell the airline to the highest bidder. It is immoral to expect poor South Africans to be deprived of basic services in order to fund the losses of SAA, a mismanaged state-owned airline.

Alf Lees MP

DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Finance

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South Africa:Minister Gigaba Tables Section 16 Notice Regarding SAA Bailout

press releaseBy Alf Lees MP

The DA notes that the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, has met the obligation to report to Parliament on the R3 billion bailout National Treasury granted to South African Airways (SAA) – as required by Section 16 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

Minister Gigaba’s report raises some serious questions, which require urgent clarification before the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement is delivered in Parliament.

What exactly is the amount that will constitute the “required equity” that Minister Gigaba refers to in his report? Is it the R 5.2 billion already paid to SAA or the R10 billion that Minister Gigaba and National Treasury have recently said would be required in the 2017/18 financial year?

Another concern to the DA is that the Minister in his report to Parliament, confirmed that banks and other lenders have agreed that they would extend the 31 October 2017 deadline for the repayment of the R5 billion owed to 31 March 2019, on the condition that “the required equity injection into SAA [be] tabled during the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement and approved by parliament”.

It is not practically nor legally possible for Parliament to approve an Appropriation Bill by the 31st of October. It seems that Minister Gigaba assured banks and other domestic lenders that Parliament will approve an equity injection at some date after the 31st of October 2017.

If this is the case it would be a very serious indictment and would simply reinforce the existing perceptions amongst South Africans that Parliament is just a rubber stamp for any and all decisions made by President Zuma and his cabinet.

Further concerns from the report include:

Parliament’s approval of “the required equity injection” is not the only condition made by the lenders. The question is, therefore, what are the other conditions?

Where will the R5 billion come from to pay lenders on 31 of March 2019?

If the payments to SAA are going to be “budget neutral” what are the assets that are going to be sold off? Considering that Telkom withdrew the cautionary issued on the trading of its shares.

It is clear that Minister Gigaba, like an aircraft awaiting permission to land, is in a holding pattern of buying time for SAA to temporarily continue flying. The losses, by Gigaba’s own admission, will continue to mount up and will require further cash bailouts within the next two months in order to avoid the liquidation of SAA.

Quite clearly, even with the latest bailout of R3 billion SAA is still not a Going Concern. And will not be able to cover the losses in October let alone for the last four months of the current financial year. Once again the tabling of SAA’s annual report and its Annual General Meeting will be delayed. Allowing Dudu Myeni to remain in control and evade her much needed exit from the SAA board.

The DA remains convinced that the only logical action for the Minister to take is to put SAA into business rescue in order to stabilise it and then to sell the airline to the highest bidder. It is immoral to expect poor South Africans to be deprived of basic services in order to fund the losses of SAA, a mismanaged state-owned airline.

Alf Lees MP

DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Finance

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Defiant Nasa Supporters Take to the Streets in Mombasa, Kisumu

By Simon Ndonga

Nairobi — Demonstrators have started gathering in Kisumu around Kondele area where they have blocked roads amid heavy security presence.

They have already set up bonfires on the main roads, although they have not started marching to the city centre where heavily armed police officers are patrolling.

The same situation was witnessed in Mombasa where opposition Members of Parliament led their supporters in marching down the town streets.

Nyanza Regional Commissioner Wilson Njega stated that police will deal firmly with demonstrators who will defy the ban to hold protests in the city centre which has been the theatre of running battles in the past.

“When you start a demonstration on an illegality, how then do you expect to proceed? And once you are allowed to march into the CBD and go to the IEBC offices, there is a lot of looting and destruction of property. This is very clear manifestation of criminality. Will you allow public property to be destroyed?” he stated.

In Mombasa, NASA supporters who had gathered at Uhuru Gardens were dispersed by police before re-grouping.

In Nairobi, the demonstrators are said to be grouping in Kibera, Mathare and Kawangware areas, amid tight security, with Uhuru Park already sealed by anti-riot police.

In Machakos, there are no signs of demonstrations so far.

Police have been mobilised in major cities across the country to keep in check those who plan to protest in solidarity with the National Super Alliance after their leaders vowed to defy an order barring them from holding demonstrations in the main city centres.

Towns affected include Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu where Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi warned of tough action on protesters making their way to the Central Business District, with plans now underway to arrest the organiser of earlier protests: Norman Magaya of NASA.

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Zambia: Local Bank Needs Recapitalising – MPs

By Chila Namaiko

Members of Parliament (MPs) have called on Government to recapitalise the Zambia National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE) to enable more small-scale farmers in remote constituencies have access to empowerment funds.

Msanzala Patriotic Front (MP) Peter Daka said NATSAVE was an important financial institution especially in the area of empowering farmers, but its current status of operation was not as effective as expected.

Mr Daka said this when Bank of Zambia (BoZ) deputy governor-operations Bwalya Ng’andu appeared on Wednesday before a Parliamentary Expanded Budget Committee on Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the financial year ending December, 2018.

The lawmaker had earlier asked Dr Ng’andu what the Central Bank was doing to improve NATSAVE operations because majority of the farmers relied on it.

“NATSAVE is an important Government financial institution, but its current status needs recapitalisation to help those people, particularly farmers, in rural areas access more facilities like loans and farming equipment, “Mr Daka said.

Mr Daka said the bank should be empowered to deliver on its mandate of reaching out to the un-banked population citing remote areas especially in the newly created districts.

Committee chairperson Mwalimu Simfukwe wondered whether BoZ was engaging Government to ensure NATSAVE’s operations were improved.

Dr Ng’andu, however, informed the committee that BoZ was already engaging Government through the ministry of Finance on the possibilities of recapitalising NATSAVE.

The deputy governor admitted that the bank required more capital injection in its operations.

He said he was confident the recapitalisation process could be expedited by Government, a move that could empower it to open more branches across the country.

On Kanchibiya PF MP Martin Malama, who bemoaned tax compliance among business entities, Dr Ng’andu challenged lawmakers to help enact stiffer laws to deal with offenders.

He also told the committee that BoZ welcomed plans to change composition of Government bonds and Treasury Bills and lengthen the maturity profile of Government securities.

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Election Laws Await Kenyatta Assent After Senate Approval

By Davis Ayega

Nairobi — Two Bills making amendments to electoral laws now await presidential assent after the Senate agreed with the National Assembly which passed the two Bills on Wednesday.

Senators approved the Election Offences Amendment Bill and the Elections Laws Amendment Bill without making any changes.

The laws will now be transmitted back to the National Assembly which is the originator of the Bills for onward transmission to President Uhuru Kenyatta to give assent.

The Bills were passed even as Opposition lawmakers snubbed the Thursday afternoon session.

The Head of State is on record stating that he will assent to the election laws once passed by Parliament, saying the Bills seal loopholes that may lead to future annulment of a presidential election.

The laws require electoral management officials who fail to do their work in accordance with the laid down regulations to face a penalty of Sh2 million and a five year jail term.

On the transmission of the results, the bill gives manual transmitted results prominence over the electronic mode of transmission.

The bill also provides that a presidential candidate who remains in race after the withdrawal of his or her opponent will be declared President-elect.

Earlier on Thursday morning, a Special Senate Committee formed on a short notice to analyse the controversial electoral laws wrapped up its public hearings.

The bills were passed in both Houses of Parliament despite Opposition from western diplomats and other key stakeholders who had asked the lawmakers to shelve the legislation of the laws.

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