The Independent’s Julius Odeke spoke to Alice Namulwa Mukasa about the controversial death of her daughter, Cerinah Nebanda Arioru, the Woman MP for Butaleja district and the ongoing campaigns to replace her.
This must be a trying moment for you since you lost your daughter Nebanda in a controversial death, how are you coping?
Did you expect me to die also? For me I am at home and for the case of my daughter, Florence, she is moving on with her supporters on the field to canvass for votes for herself. I am still in mourning. I have never moved out to campaign for her as I am here at my home in Butaleja.
What is your view about how government has handled the events surrounding the death of your daughter?
I am still mourning my daughter and have not done much about that. I am still in the village but I am trying to cope up with the situation since losing a child is so painful to a parent.
When Gen. Moses Ali, the third deputy Prime Minister who represented President Yoweri Museveni in Butaleja as chief mourner stood up to read the President’s condolence message, you tore the speech. Why did you tear the president’s speech?
All along what I was expecting was for government to give me a clear report about the death of my daughter; that is what I wanted to hear. As a mother, what I wanted to hear was a good message from the government that my daughter served but surprisingly I did not. So it prompted me to tear that speech because I felt pain. And you know being a mother and you have lost your daughter, you can be easily taken up by emotions which can happen to anyone else.
Why are you pushing another child of yours into elective politics?
Is there anything that is wrong with that? In Butaleja district what I know is my daughter had many projects, both domestic ones and for the public, which she had not accomplished. So as a family we felt her sister Florence should come up and contest so that we can have those projects accomplished.
Why is she running on NRM ticket?
But we are from NRM and what I know is that NRM is the party for all of us.
You daughter was accompanied by the Batusa in her swearing in ceremony in parliament. What do you think is the role of superstition in politics?
In Butaleja we have our own traditions that we respect and adore and I think every tribe in Uganda has such kind of traditions that they too pay allegiance to for the blessings and help in the provision of direction and focus on what they do. So for us in Butaleja we respect those traditions because they are our culture and it was not shocking to anyone in Butaleja because we have them and everyone likes that.
Initially in the 2011 elections, it was said that you were to run for that post, why then did you pull out?
I have never had such an idea of contesting in Butaleja and I have never wanted to stand against Dorothy Hyuha.
Your children are in Bunyole and they bear names that do not belong to the community in Bunyole, how is it that?
Provided they are Ugandans I do not see anything wrong with my children contesting for politics in Butaleja. I thought one of the qualifications for one to contest for elections in Uganda is that you need to be a Ugandan and that requirement my daughters have it. The name factor I do not have anything to say I about it. Does it mean to say people wanted a Banyole or any capable person who can represent them in parliament? Because what I know is that anyone can contest even in Kabale so long as you are a Ugandan and you have leadership qualities and the electorates trust you. What I know is that somebody’s qualities and personality makes people vote for that person.
Most MPs are young below 30 years what would be your advice to the parents?
They should not stop their children from contesting because they can simply ruin the future of their children. If children have the ability to lead their people, they should be allowed to fill the leadership gap.
You daughter was very vocal in parliament…?
My daughter was not vocal, but had an independent mind. She was a courageous even as a child. I saw it when she was still a child and it never changed much in her. She simply had an independent mind and she had issues that she wanted government to act on for the benefit of all Ugandans. She was not talking bad against the government, not at all. She had views to represent while in parliament and those views were from her electorates.
What is you last word to the people of Butaleja?
I want the people of Butaleja to vote for Florence Nebanda so that she will continue with the projects that her sister had started for the benefit of the public. And I know that she will fit in her sister shoes, they should not doubt her ability to do that.