By Nicholas Opiyo
On Friday Sept.15, 2017, i, alongside Erias Lukwago, the Kampala Lord Mayor and Mike Sebalu (former Uganda MP at the East African Assembly) appeared with the Hon. Evelyn Anite, the Koboko Municipality MP and State Minister of Finance for Investment on Radio One FM 90’s Friday Spectrum Extra, a two hour talk show moderated by Norah Owaraga.
This was only hours after Anite roared at a press conference in parliament that they, a section of NRM MPs), the proponents of the amendment of the constitution to lift age limit to allow Museveni contest for elections in 2021, have the support of the majje (a local luganda phrase referring to armed forces). The army have since come out to denounce her statement.
It was a painful two hours of debate for all panelist and i would imagine the listeners as well. Here are my notes from the show, a few things i think i should share with you, if it will help you appreciate the nature of the person we are dealing with;
- She claimed she had received several death threats from fellow MPs and ordinary citizens on her phone because of her support for the lifting of presidential age limit. I asked on air to see these threats, she agreed only to quickly backtrack saying her phone is a private gadget. She did not show me the alleged messages (i doubt there was any for if she had them, she would have put my curiosity to rest).
- I suggested that a responsible leader facing death threats would immediately report the same to the police and not address these serious allegations through the press. I asked if she had reported these maters to the police, and if so, which police station and what was the (CRB) reference number of the police file. There was none. Instead she mumbled a few things i can’t recall now (i think she is making lofty allegations to buttress her ill advised outbursts).
- Having watched her struggle as a journalist during the FM 90 Ekimezza days on Spring Road (Morris P’LORENG’A may remember this), wearing cheap silk clothes, and torn shoes, i reminded her of her past and how far she has come. She forcefully refuted my recollection and stated that she was not a struggling but thriving journalists. I asked what works as a journalist she was most proud of and can point me to. She offered none (her only job after her Ekimeza days was at the government Media centre where her role was to call talk she producers to ask for the day’s topics and deploy NRM political show commentators).
- The debate was about age and limiting of presidential age limit from the constitution to allow Museveni to contest. When the Lord Mayor asked her what her age was, she suggested that the Lord Mayor was asking her with the intention of intimidating and maybe asking her out, yes, dating her (she really has nothing to lose and can mae any wild allegations to win an argument or silence anyone else disagreeing with her. She knows most decent folks would simply not engage at that level).
- When i challenged Museveni to a public health check and a polygraph test his vitality and truthfulness because thought he was both a lier and an old and less vigorous soul, she quickly called me cheap (quick to insult others. Heckles quite a bit and talks at the top of her voice with eyes wide open).
- When i offered anecdotal evidence of Museveni’s frailty by saying that he moves with a toilet in his motorcade to frequently take long and short calls and has interrupted live televised publicity address to take the call of nature (at the home of the late Kawesi), she shouted back that even i had made several trips to the toilet in the course of the show. I had not even coughed for the duration of the show (she can go to any levels to win an argument)
- I invited her to have a deep reflection over her antics and deeply divisive and now widely derided public persona, she said i had asked her about what she does on her bed and retorted that she does many things pn her bed that i have no right to ask her to do.
- She said she picks her words carefully and when she speaks, it is after deep and thoughtful reflections. We all were left bemused.
My private notes. I share these because it was a public debate, on a radio talk show.