By Naboth Isaac Niwagaba .
Kabale Municipality residents were treated to a moment of drama as area Mp Dr. Nicholas Kamara and Rubabo County MP Naboth Namamanya declined to buy President Yoweri Museveni’s portrait at a church fundraising ceremony.
It all started when Kabale District Woman MP Catherine Atwakiire Ndamira was given Museveni’s portrait for auction at a ceremony to raise funds for the Kabale Catholic Diocese’s St. Charles Lwanga Rutooma Catholic Church building.
Ndamira began by telling the chief guest, Dr. Kamara, Rubabo County MP Naboth Namanya, and Kabale Municipality Mayor Sentaro Byamugisha that the NRM led by President Museveni was capable of sabotaging their election to Parliament, but the ruling party chose to let them win based on individual merit.
“You came raising your symbolic two fingers, and we did not interrupt you.” “So now it’s time you return the courtesy by buying this portrait,” Ndamira said.
However, after a long period of demands from Ndamira, Hon. Namanya refused to contribute anything, while Dr. Kamara contributed only UgX 20,000.
Former Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda’s Political Assistant Emmanuel Bigirwa came to the rescue, offering to buy the portrait for UgX 500,000.Ndamira contributed another 500,000, while Mayor Sentaro added 100,000 to make it 1.1 million.
In his speech, Namanya hailed Dr. Kamara for resisting the temptation to buy Museveni’s portrait despite being the chief guest at the ceremony. Namanya said that for a long time, the opposition had been tagged as poor politicians, and therefore they couldn’t waste their resources on Museveni’s portrait. He contributed UgX 1 million and bought Pope Francis’ portrait for UgX 600,000.
“You know how they always claim that we are poor. So, I would rather spend my money on building the church through other means than on buying the NRM principal’s portrait.” Namanya said.
While speaking with journalists at the sidelines of the ceremony, Dr. Kamara said that he could have contributed less than 20,000, but he did not have anything smaller in his pocket. He said he would have bought the portrait for $1 million or more if it belonged to the former president of the FDC, Rt. Col. Kiiza Besigye, or the party’s president, Patrick Amuriat.
“They were lucky that I did not have coins in my pocket.” Why do you bring the portrait of the NRM Party Chairperson for auction at a ceremony whose chief guest is a member of parliament elected on the FDC ticket? “That was a mistake,” Kamara said.
A total of UgX 70 billion was collected in both pledges and cash. 40.5 million were in cash, while 29.5 million were pledges. Dr. Kamara delivered the 17.5 million that he collected from fellow MPs and also read out a list of other MPs who pledged a total of 18 million.
According to the Construction Committee Chairperson, Godfrey Magezi, completion of the church building, which is at the roofing level, requires Ugx 91 million.
The Fundraising Ceremony at Rutooma Hill was presided over by the Rev. Fr. Fred Birungi, the Priest of Christ the King Parish under the Kabale Diocese.