There was drama on Tuesday when the elderly Vix Kingo appeared at the National Consultation for Free and Fair Elections meeting in Kampala.
It should be noted that government officially boycotted the function though some officials attended in their own capacities.
According to one of the organizers,and NGO Forum Executive Director Dr Richard Sewakiryanga, an invitation was extended to a number of government officials who didn’t show up at the conference.
President Yoweri Museveni who was invited to officiate at the opening of the three-day conference was also absent, and not represented.
Participants were stunned when all of a sudden Kingo appeared at the venue before taking the NRM seat.
Many wondered whether Kingo had been dispatched to the conference which is part of a series of activities that opposition political parties and civil society organizations embarked on at the beginning of this year with the view of causing reforms in the country’s electoral processes.
MP Benson Obua-Ogwal remarked: “They say nature abhors vacuum. So when NRM seat was vacant at the time party leaders were making responses to Dr. Busingye Kabumba’s powerful presentation, Mr. Vix Kingo decides to walk up and take the NRM seat. I wait with bated breath to hear him speak!”
Kingo is not known to be an NRM leader but has worked as a newsreader at the national broadcaster UBC for several years.
Ogwal later added: “Hon. Stephen Mukitale Birahwa NRM MP from Bulisa has saved the situation and made a very passionate, honest, balanced and objective and a moving intervention. Much as he spoke in his individual capacity, his saved us from the looming comedy that would have ensued of Kingo spoke on behalf of NRM.
The poor government representation raised concerns amongst several participants on government’s purported commitment to electoral reforms, as the countdown shrinks toward the February 2016 general elections.
Forum for Democratic Party (FDC) President Gen Mugisha Muntu told Chimpreports the invitation to president Museveni was logical.
“As leaders who have been steering this Free and fair elections campaign, we thought that President Museveni was the right person to officiate at the opening of this national forum. We don’t know why he isn’t here, but if he chooses to show up in the next two days, he’s very much welcome,” he said.
NRM spokesperson Mr Ofwono Opondo however, said government had no business with an exercise championed by the opposition and civil society.
He told Chimpreports on phone that government was pursuing its own process of electoral reforms through a Cabinet subcommittee, which would be presented and passed at parliament not at Hotel Africana.
“Government is not answerable to the opposition or the civil society but to the people of Uganda. You know that the Minister of Justice issued a notice calling for national input in the reforms. There’s a cabinet subcommittee looking into that, and soon parliament will debate and pass the reforms,” he said.