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Dr Spire to Ssemuju: You are not an ordinary MP but people’s hope, joining officials at Parliament to misuse public funds is betrayal

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Makerere University Cartoonist and satirist Dr Spire Ssentongo aka Spire has responded to Kira municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemuju Nganda on the his statement about the #UgandaParliamentExhibition.

Ssemuju who had been accused of betraying the public by feasting on the taxpayers money responded with clarification on each and everything.

In response to the comments the Makerere University Don penned a statement as seen below.

Full statement

MY RESPONSE TO HON. SSEMUJU

I’ve read your response to allegations that came up against you in the #UgandaParliamentExhibition. I commend you for responding and trying to clarify on some of the issues. It shows that you don’t take the public for granted, even if it’s the online public that you hold reservations about.

I will respond to a few issues you raise:

I) You wonder why your travels were singled out yet you’re are not one of the most travelling. I could belabour an answer. You may or may not know it, but you are one of the most respected and admired MPs. You’ve often spoken for us, even at great risk. Very courageous, articulate, intelligent, honest, and informed! That is the reason why you are held to a very high standard, and, as such, in case of any suspected betrayal, the public would be very disappointed and harsh on you. You are not just any other MP, you are Ssemuju, the people’s darling. Why do you think there is little public outrage against the NRM commissioners that gave themselves 400m? It is because we are not surprised that they did. It would shock us if they didn’t. You are part of the little hope that the public still holds in politicians. Your predicament is partly that of Hon. Mpuuga. When people expect too much of you, even one fault of yours disappoints them disproportionately – contrary to expectation that they would be kinder to you. When you’ve always been No. 1 in class, you are not judged like the usual mediocre. That’s expectation psychology. This is not helped by the current angry and cynical mood in the online public in light of other gory revelations.

II) The anger against you is also partly because, on the different occasions where you’ve publicly spoken about the accountability and opulence questions on Parliament, you’ve sounded uncharacteristically vague or evasive, sometimes immediately dismissive, and at times quickly defensive. We don’t know you for stammering about concerns and pains of Ugandans. That’s why your darling public became more curious to know what was happening to their courageous outspoken Hon. Ssemuju. Again, you are not just any other MP. 

III) You argue that there is nothing wrong with you being facilitated for a pilgrimage to Mecca because Christian MPs are also facilitated for theirs to Rome. This is obviously a fallacy of two wrongs. Their being facilitated for private affairs using taxpayers’ money in a poor country does not justify your own facilitation. Again, the disappointment is also because the Ssemuju we know to speak for the common person would have been expected to correct this abuse of our money than to simply adopt wrongs of others. Last Saturday on Capital Gang when you were asked if you took the 50m as well, again you went on to explain (as though to justify) how Parliament is a replica of Museveni’s extravagance. So, if tomorrow they start using our money to facilitate their wedding anniversaries, will you also just join them because it will be Parliament ‘policy’? Will you follow them down the sewer? The Ssemuju that often speaks for us on national priorities is the one we are calling out, and we expect him to understand why we placed his bar very high. It is a sign of public trust. 

All that said, certainly we are not going to find angels to be our MPs. You are human, like any of us. We all make mistakes. I have mine too, several. Speaking for myself, my love and admiration for you is not lost yet. For all your heroic performance, it would be unfair of us to exclusively judge you by this saga. But please, understand why we are angry, and don’t just dismiss or brush us off. Let the falsehoods that may have come along with truths not distract us from this opportunity to cast a torch in the House that is supposed to represent our needs, pains, aspirations, and desires. This is good for both Parliament and the rest of us. It won’t help your work when the public has no trust in the House. Take the genuine concerns in good faith. Thank you. Spire

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