Amid a heated controversy over the proposed constitutional amendment to lifting the presidential age-limit, State House staffs have embarked on a crusade to induce Resident District Commissioners and Internal Security Officers to unconditionally supporting the bill.
A team of State House staffs which includes among other notable figures led David Mafabi, the President’s private Secretary for Political affairs are is currently meeting RDC and DISOs; giving them express instructions to throw the necessary weight behind the ongoing debate.
The Mafabi led-team, on Tuesday summoned all RDCs and DISOs from the greater Masaka sub region for a meeting at Hotel Brovad in Masaka town, to strategize on how to popularize the debate in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
In the meeting, Mafabi preferred that his opening remarks to remain confidential to his invited security agents, and ensured that no journalists were allowed in before he delivers the message.
Sources privy with details of the meeting confide to us that while Mafabi’s anticipation was meeting a highly submissive audience, the meeting at some point run out of control as security agents demanded for among others things; to know the NRM secretariat’s stand on the subject and the sum money each would get in exchange of their endorsement to the bill.
“How can we be asked to endorse the proposal, bore having an official statement from the party’s decision making organs. I don’t know whether Mr Mafabi who is not a staff of the NRM secretariat can provide us with one if there is any. Some of us would not want to be bundled into this confusion,” one of the meeting attendants is quoted to have said.
It is however said that this discussion on money was prematurely frustrated by Andrew Kandiho, the Masaka District Internal Security Officer-DISO, who argued that it was not the appropriate to ask for money.
“We hear that MP promoters have already pocketed some money, how come that someone wants us to join the bandwagon before being certain of our share,” another person is said to have noted with concern.
Our source also indicates that although the Mafabi-team was not ready answers the raised concerns, the security agents received instructions to offer all necessary support to groups that popularize debate, at all times they are asked to do so.
Apparently, the meetings have generated some fears among the MP and groups opposed to the bill, suspecting that the state could be plotting to unleash violence on then during their consultations and demonstration over the controversial bill.
A day after the meeting, a group of NRM supporters in Lwengo district beat-up their opposition Democratic Party counterparts led by Hakim Kizza who were sensitizing communities in Kinoni town about the bill.
According to Kizza all the violence were minted out to them under full watch of police, which never reigned over the NRM group. “We are aware of all the plots are committed to our campaign to defend the constitution despite the threats,’ Kizza says.
Other deliberations at the meeting
Besides their individual financial packages, the RDC and DISO whose attendance ranged between 30 to 40 people also demanded that state house full caters for their media propaganda machinery, as an appropriate approach towards condensing the currently high public tempers that have flared by the opposition crusaders.
“It is obvious that the bill is so unpopular because the opposition moved ahead of the proponents and government, and these have succeeded at making communities hostile against the bill. Unless government secures us airtime on the available media outlets we may hit a dead end,’ one of the attendants suggested.
Meanwhile, one a section of the group suggested that for the interest of defeating the loud voices and forces against lifting the age-limit, the NRM let out their vigilante groups like the Boda Boda 2010, M7 Pakalast etc, to take their crusades in the countryside, such that they can supplement the lower level structures.