Uganda:Besigye, wife to miss Parliament awards ceremony

Published by Daily Monitor
On 26 September 2016 saa 02:12
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Recently, Parliament announced that the duo would be recognised for their contribution towards the country’s development.

Kampala. Opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye and his wife Winnie Byanyima are likely not to attend today’s ceremony where Parliament will be awarding Golden Jubilee medals to current and former legislators.

Both Dr Besigye and Ms Byanyima are former legislators and feature on the awardees list published by Parliament.

Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, the FDC spokesperson, yesterday said Dr Besigye is out of the country until September 29 while Ms Byanyima is in the United States of America.

“Col (retired) Besigye will be back on September 29 and we are mobilising our supporters to receive him at Entebbe Airport. As far as I am concerned, Winnie (Byanyima) is in America,” said Mr Ssemujju, adding that he was not aware of the duo delegating anyone to represent them at today’s ceremony.

Ms Byanyima is former Mbarara Municipality MP while Dr Besigye was a member of the National Resistance Council (the interim parliament after NRM captured power in 1986) and the Constituent Assembly, which debated and made the 1995 Constitution.

Awards criteria

A statement from Parliament indicates that the Speaker of Parliament in conjunction with the Presidential Awards Committee organised the Golden Jubilee Awards Ceremony for MPs who have served in the different legislatures from the time of Uganda’s independence.

The awards will, according to the House statement, be given in “recognition to their service to the nation.”

Ms Byanyima was in 2010 part of a group that was awarded the Nalubaale and Rwenzori medals for their outstanding contribution to the five-year armed struggle that brought President Museveni and the NRM to power in 1986.

Although Dr Besigye participated in the 1981-86 NR guerrilla war and was Mr Museveni’s personal doctor in the bush, he has never been awarded any medal for his contribution to the liberation effort while his contemporaries have picked several accolades.

The futile promise

In 2001, Mr Museveni said Dr Besigye would be awarded a medal for his contribution in the liberation struggle but to date, there has never been mention of it again.
In 2013, the FDC party president, Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, was one of the 96 people who were awarded the 50th Independence Golden Jubilee medals alongside President Museveni’s son and Special Forces Commander Maj Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

FDC has in the past objected to the rationale used to award the medals.

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Dr Besigye and Winnie Byanyima.