By Samuel Opio
A section of Iteso under their umbrella body Bukedea Unification have faulted the speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga for ignoring their petition on Chris Obore’s ‘mistreatment in parliament’.
In an interview with this website, the group members want the speaker “to tell us what has Teso done to deserve such treatment and humiliation in the country particularly in the matter of Chris Obore. We the elders and youth of Teso want her to explain to us what went wrong because we respect her and believe our grief has not been addressed. We Iteso want to resolve this matter in a gentle way but since all avenues are not responding we are left with no choice but to show our wrath through demonstration. We are even going to demonstrate before the parliament of Uganda to show our dissatisfaction,”
In September 2019, the director for communications and public affairs at parliament Chris Obore Ariko was sent on forced leave.
Jane Kibirige, the clerk of parliament wrote to Obore noting that “I have been directed to inform you to take your accumulated leave with immediate effect.”
His leave was extended indefinitely in January 2020 triggering anger in Teso.
According to Jonathan Musoke the chairperson of the group, they have tried to be diplomatic by writing letters of engagement to the speaker and recently to the president but their letters have all been ignored which has forced them to demonstrate.
“We have tried all we can to be diplomatic but our plea has been ignored so the only option we have is demonstrate, maybe our concern shall be heard on issues pressing Teso region starting with Mr Chris Obore mistreatment,” he said.
The legal advisor of the team Betty Ajilong, is urging the Speaker to listen to the youth and people of Teso as a whole to reinstate Chris Obore to his office.
“Apart from being the speaker of parliament, she is also an advocate of the Law who in my own opinion and any professional lawyer’s opinion should uphold what the law states. In this case, effect the court order in regards to Chris Obore,” she said.
Diana Adong Esele in a grieved manner condemned the ‘unfair treatment’ being subjected to Obore calling for a fair treatment of all Ugandans in different sectors.
“I stand with Obore as an Etesot and a Ugandan without any other attachments or expectations from him. I condemn the unfair treatment he is being subjected to. Today is him tomorrow could be you. I call for just treatment of all Ugandans in all sectors,” she said.
“I applaud all those who are keenly following the matter; yearning for justice. Obore as an individual may or may not help his tribesmen (Iteso) or Ugandans at large most notably to their satisfaction. I strongly believe someone (Ugandan) somewhere is/was getting help from him in one way or another. This isn’t about Obore but Teso, so it’s against that background that am requesting all Teso MPs to come in to save a brother” she added.
The group is also bitter with Teso MPs who they say have decided to go mute about Teso sub region issues but so much engaged on University runs.
“How about if they organized a meeting with the president and speaker to discuss Marginalization for Teso region? Wake up Teso is crying, and needs your rescue, Mr Chris Obore is the best example to start with Honourables,” Musoke urged.
They fault Teso Mps for ‘absolutely’ doing nothing in helping them fight for the rights of OBORE and all the daughters and sons of Teso.
“The trust we invested to our MPs has been lost because our voices have not been heard. The MPs are only nodding their ‘heads to yes’ yet deep down they know it’s not well with Teso. In their capacity how can they fail to organise a meeting with the Speaker to address this issue yet they are always seen with her in common functions like University runs, tree planting in other regions with other leaders but can’t participate and organise the same in Teso for the same course,” dissatisfied Chris Omuron, the group secretary said.
How Obore got the job and how his troubles begun
Mr Obore took oath of office on September 3, 2015 after he emerged most fit for the job, beating three others including colleague; Charles Mwanguhya Mpagi.
However, shortly after his first few months in office, Obore’s troubles began and hardly a year later, he was loathed by most staff, senior and junior.
A few more months later, he reportedly fell out with the alpha and omega of parliament- Rebecca Kadaga, who we understand could have been instrumental in his appointment to the post.
Why the report now?
A whistle blower filed a report to IGG in the first months of Obore’s term of office explaining the anomalies in his recruitment. However, since Obore still had the backing of Kadaga, the report was shelved for just the right time.
Obore’s reported fall out with Kadaga could now accelerate the report.
The whistle-blower indicated that Obore did not have the minimum 10 years of service, and a Master’s degree at the time of appointment, all which are prerequisite by the Public Service Commission for one to be appointed a director.
According to the job advert by the Parliamentary Commission, the candidate ought to have had an Honors Degree in Mass Communication, Communication Studies, Journalism, or Arts with Communication and Public Relations studied as subjects, from a recognised University plus a Masters’ Degree in a relevant field.
The applicant had to have a working experience of 10 years, part of which was as a communication/Public Relations or Information, Protocol and Public Affairs Department from a recognised Institution or at the level of Assistant Commissioner in a Government Institution.
How did Obore get the job?
In early 2015, Parliament noted need for a person able to speak for the institution and the office of the speaker.
The person available was a one Rani Ismail who was attached to the speaker and the communications office and she was already over stretched.
A meeting chaired by the speaker then decided another person be appointed to handle the spokesperson role.
According to the meeting, the person would have to be ‘rabid’, not easily intimidated by media and able to defend the office of the speaker without fear or favour.
A head hunt was commissioned, and a number of names fronted among which included; The East African bureau chief, Charles Mwanguhya Mpagi and Corporate Affairs Manager for Eskom Uganda Ltd, Simon Kasyate.
The two were set for interviews until Chris Obore’s name came up, automatically knocking off Kasyate. Obore and Mwanguhya sat for the interviews and the former got the nod.