‘Why Elioda Tumwesigye Should Apologize to Sheema North Voters – and Resign’
Of Elioda Tumwesigye, Sheema Politics and Patriotism
According to two different books of the Holy Bible in the Old Testament – 1 Chronicles 21:24 and 2 Samuel 24:24 – King David taught us that it makes no sense for one to make a sacrifice that costs him nothing!
It is these two verses that should guide Dr Elioda Tumwesigye.
The Sheema North MP, who doubles as minister in charge of Science, Technology and Innovation, is now seeking to represent another constituency: Sheema Municipality – in the same Parliament.
Dr Tumwesigye should apologize to the people of Sheema North whom he approached two years ago and sought a mandate to represent for a five-year term.
He should apologize for deciding that these same voters he cherished two years ago (if he did anyway) are now not worthy of his representation – barely midway into the five-year mandate.
The minister should apologize for deciding to abandon his ‘village voters’ for those who live in town: Sheema Municipality.
While I appreciate that it is his constitutional right to seek to represent a constituency of his choice, this should not have a cost on the taxpayer who pays through the nose. In the event that Tumwesigye wins the Sheema Municipality seat, tax payers will spend millions to finance the Electoral Commission to organize an election in Sheema North – Dr Tumwesigye cannot certainly represent two constituencies.
What Happened to Patriotism?
The idea of patriotism, that our government so much loves and often preaches, should have helped Dr Tumwesigye make the right decision. The patriotism principle should have reminded the good doctor it is not simply about his wishes – even when the Constitution backs his wish.
King David’s reasoning in the scriptures at the start of this piece should have made Dr Tumwesigye go to the nearest priest to confess his sins. For 15 years, he has failed to advocate for better roads and other social services in Sheema North. That is reason enough for someone to seek forgiveness from God and voters.
And now, instead of repenting the sin of failure, Tumwesigye is committing a ‘bigger’ sin: making the taxpayer he has failed cough over Shs 300m to finance another poll – that sin is in the pipeline, and its commission or non-commission will depend on whether the minister wins or loses, respectively.
That money can do wonders – at least in the lives of ‘Sheema North’ villagers Dr Tumwesigye seems no longer interested in representing. Imagine how many jobs Shs 300m can create if the president donated it to a group of youth or women as start-up capital – and of course if it well managed?
Therefore, considering the weight of the cross of financing a byelection in Sheema North should God decide to punish Ugandans by letting Tumwesigye win the Municipality poll, the minister is simply unpatriotic – at least judging by this action alone. He is being selfish and unfair to poor Ugandans whom he wants to pay so that he can test his popularity among those who live in town (Municipality) and those in villages (Sheema North) largely with no electricity, poor roads, poor health services, schools etc. He is an enemy the poor, and ‘villagers’; otherwise what explains his decision to abandon them.
What Does Elioda Tumwesigye Want to Do Differently?
As Indira Ghandi taught us: questioning is the basis of all progress, and those who don’t question are condemned to live in bondage.
Therefore, this is the time for Sheema North and Sheema Municipality people to ask hard questions. Dr Tumwesigye is a minister, an MP for Sheema North, and also Sheema District NRM Chairman. What does he want to do as MP Sheema Municipality that he can’t do in his current capacity?
Isn’t he simply testing his popularity in both constituencies? Why should poor Ugandans’ money (taxes) be spent on such an exercise where an individual wants to test his popularity?
Is it that the honourable Tumwesigye alone can work for Sheema Municipality? Is he the only Moses that can deliver the municipality to ‘Canaan’? Or is the good MP simply telling Sheema North people that with a municipality, he cannot spend his valuable time going to villages in Sheema North – and so the municipality is the best option for him? Or is it that he is running away from the poor roads, schools and health services in Sheema North?
A Black Swan
Actually, Dr Tumwesigye’s decision to vie for Sheema Municipality seat without resigning his current position as Sheema North MP will create a Black Swan event in politics of our country. Prof Nassim Nicholas Talib taught us that Black Swan refers to events that overturn established ways of thinking and norms.
The tragedy is that we can only understand them long after they have occurred, in most cases leaving behind disastrous effects. In the same way, by choosing to contest in a different constituency while he is a sitting MP for another, Tumwesigye effectively elevates himself to a Black Swan virus.
Unfortunately, this precedent Tumwesigye is setting could make other MPs decide to test their popularity by contesting in other constituencies without resigning their current positions. Such scenarios can only break the backs of taxpayers whose money is spent on the by-elections – and voter fatigue can only increase.
This is why Tumwesigye should apologize and resign his seat for trying to use taxpayers’ money to test his popularity by contesting in a different constituency without resigning his current position.
Another reason he should resign his seat is betraying Sheema North people he promised to represent for five years and has now decided to abandon them just after two years in favour of Municipality people.
Betraying people is ungodly; this is why we should demand a ‘sacrifice’ that will cost him his seat – resignation with immediate effect. After all, as earlier noted, going by 1Chronicles 21:24 and 2 Samuel 24:24, it only makes sense when one makes a sacrifice that costs him something.
Ssemanda Allawi is a PhD student of International Relations and Diplomatic Studies. @SsemandaAllawi