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FDC demands review of policy on national medals

The Golden Medal

Former Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LoP) Wafula Oguttu says President Museveni’s government has now devalued the importance of national medals by awarding them for political reasons rather than for standout performances.

Addressing the media today at Forum for Democratic (FDC) party headquarters, Wafula ciied the award of the Golden Jubilee medals to over 1,000 members of parliament who served from independence to October 2012. Wafula notes that the manner in which the medals were given to the MPs makes them appear like a mere political token.
A total of 1,162 comprising of the current and former MPs received medals at a ceremony graced by President Yoweri Museveni. Some the recipients included the late former prime minister Cosmas Adyebo, former vice president, Prof Gilbert Bukenya, four-time FDC presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye and his wife, Winnie Byanyima, Kampala lord mayor, Erias Lukwago, as well as former Democratic Party presidents John Ssebaana Kizito and Paul Kawanga Ssemwogerere.
However, Besigye and Byanyima, the former MP for Mbarara municipality didn’t attend the event. Besigye is yet to return to the country since he left for the Uganda North America Association (UNAA) convention in the U.S and later the United Kingdom in August. He is expected to return to the country on Thursday next week.

According to Oguttu, medals should only be awarded to individuals, who have made significant contribution to the country through their initiatives, creativity and service.
“Medals are given to people who had distinguished service. We don’t think that all MPs in Uganda have done distinguished service. Next time when you finish [awarding] MPs, you are going to go to permanent secretaries, then you will eventually end up with farmers. You can’t give medals like that. National medals are given to people with distinguished service. They are few. You can remember them and what they did. If you gave Akii-bua [Uganda’s first Olympic champion in 1972] a medal or [Stephen] Kiprotich [Olympic gold medalist in 2012] that is distinct or like those kids who have discovered biodegradable kaveera from cassava. Those can get medals, we need to review that you don’t just give medals for politics but you give medals because somebody has stood out”, Oguttu said.

But General Elly Tumwine, the chairman of the presidential awards committee defends the awards, saying the medals are in appreciation of the legislators for their contribution during the Golden Jubilee independence anniversary in 2012 but it was not done.
“All those who served, now in this case up to a member of parliament are given the Golden Jubilee medal – the 50th anniversary medal which was supposed to be given in 2012. But because MPs were many, they could not be given in in one function it would stop others from getting at all because they will be too many. So we agreed that lets give it to them once together. So, this is about celebrating 50 years of independence and those who served the country and for somebody who reached member of parliament had reached a significant amount of contribution to the 50 years independence”.

President Museveni said he was “really very happy” that government had finally recognised all the MPs for their contribution to the country’s current peaceful environment.

He said it is not only his 1986 bush war comrades who have contributed to Uganda’s peace but even people like MPs who served in the 1950 and the subsequent parliaments. He urged parliament to organise a biennial get together for the MPs (current and former) as a way of recognising their contributions to nation building.

Museveni further said that government would in future set up a fund to look after the formers MPs or their descendants.

“How can Uganda fail to look after its MPs…only 1,000?”, he said.

This post was syndicated from Breaking and latest news, analysis, comments, business, lifestyle, entertainment and sports from Uganda. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

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