The Beauty of Parliamentary Democracy in Uganda

After a rather long but fruitful day at my desk, I decided to surf through the Uganda Parliament website and fortuitously landed on the Hansard of 29th July 2014. For the uninitiated, the Hansard is the parliament’s journal. I came upon a record which I copied and must paste here.

“MR FRED EBIL (UPC, Kole County, Kole): Madam Speaker and Honorable members, as you might have witnessed or read in the media recently, there has been an incident involving a leopard – some say they may be two – and the UWA officials are still handling the situation. This leopard came from Kidepo National Park and this is a seasonal occurrence. It comes through Alebtong in Ajuri through to Erute South and right now, it is in Kole in a sub county called Bala.

Children are not going to school because they are living in fear. The farmers are not going to their gardens, which affects the economic welfare of the people of Kole. I want to thank your office for according me this moment to raise this matter and I thank the DPC who has been on the ground for the last five days. (Interjections)

My plea to the Minister of Tourism is that it has been one month and you have not reached on the ground; what we need is more resources because this leopard has defeated the UWA office in Oyam. Since it is a small office, we need more technically able people from the headquarters- (Interruption) Maybe I could take that information.

THE SPEAKER:  This is not a debate.”

It is a lovely blessing to be treated to unsolicited drama in the least likely of places. For this reason, the parliamentary Hansard will henceforth be my comic retreat. It is important, and, dare I say, necessary to interlace the lighter aspects of life with the serious business of legislation although I doubt the frightened children are laughing about the imminent threat posed by the member of the Felidae family. It is all a matter of perspective.

The DPC who has “been on the ground for the past five days” must be vigorously applauded for his tenacity in defying mighty buoyant forces that would have him levitating towards the stratosphere. In this, I agree with the honorable MP. The Minister of Tourism, on the other hand has been hanging somewhere between the earth and the heavens and must be rightly condemned. In other business, it turns out that the UWA office in Oyam had been engaged in combat with the sneaky leopard which has so far had the upper hand. Perhaps more resources need to be devoted to human-animal combat for it is an embarrassment for an office to lose so miserably. It casts us as a race in negative light.

A bewildered Speaker could muster no better response than “This is not a debate”. I wholeheartedly concur. Regaling the August House with wild tales of a beast or two wandering unfettered among human settlements is something that must be left to raconteurs around a fire-place of yore in my ancestral home of Lukwir. And such tales should not lend themselves to debate. They are for instruction of little, can we swiftly move on to the next item on the agenda?

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