By John Okello Lapok
Two MPs from West Nile are alleged to be on the verge of tearing up each other over alleged political supremacy in the region, this News site reveals!
Atima Jackson who’s MP for Arua City and also the West Nile regional NRM whip, is not seeing eye to eye with his counterpart Feta Geoffrey who’s the MP for Ayivu county-East.
Our Inspectors suggested that for some time now, these two have been running a cold war with Atima accusing Feta of alleged insubordination and undermining his full authority as the regional NRM whip.
Their feud reached boiling point recently following a decision by speaker Anita Among to send the parliamentary committee on Natural Resources and Environment led by Dr. Emmanuel Otaala to the West Nile sub-region to interrogate the alleged power shortages and also make recommendations.
The Anita decision followed a petition by some people through their area MPs who complained of darkness arising from lack of fuel in Electoromax generators and a technical problem with one of the turbines at Nyagak I.
As a result, some politicians shifted the blame on power service provider-Wenreco hence the investigation by parliament.
The Otaala committee henceforth drew up a program to follow during it’s time in the sub region and that while in Arua, it was supposed to hold a public rally in Arua City represented by Atima the man!
Unknown to the committee, was the fact that the area MPs needed to achieve some political capital out of this visit, the reason the committee’s program was interrupted while in the field.
Inspectors said when the Committee reached, Feta tried to sabotage Atima’s meeting by coining another abrupt rally at Muni university. And to make matters worse, this Muni meeting was highly politicized and heavily demonized President Museveni and his government.
With a lot of concern, Atima as the regional whip, apologized to the Committee chairman for the mess at Muni where even some participants like Abia Christine demanded for secession of the region accusing Museveni of neglecting West Nile.
“This rally was not on the program. It was hastily mobilized by Feta simply because he wanted to embarrass Atima who is the face of government in the region as the whip” says an Inspector.
We are told even when Atima tolerated this alleged embarrassment at the hands of Feta, the massive turn up of the Arua City rally organised by Atima allegedly rubbed badly Feta’s camp.
“He forced Otaala to take the Committee to Muni. Otaala did it just for harmony. Even then, the Muni meeting was a total flop as there were a few people. They didn’t say anything about power apart from bashing government. But the Arua City meeting was a success and this showed Atima as a good mobiliser” says an Inspector.
When that meeting was successful, Feta camp allegedly started accusing Atima of having connived with Otaala to mobilize those people where he even greeted them in Lugbara.
“For me, I cannot be threatened by anyone. No one can intimidate me. I was only doing Committee work and I don’t want to be dragged into their differences” Otaala told us.
With the WENRECO feud aside, the duo again got involved in another rivalry regarding the killer waragi in Arua. Apparently, Atima decided to raise a matter of national importance on the floor but even before he finished his submissions, his colleague Feta shot up and claimed to have evidence of the real waragi. He thus tabled the waragi without having talked to his whip Atima.
Inspectors suggested that the duo’s feud is related to a decision by NRM leadership to appoint Atima the regional whip. That whereas other members fully pay allegiance to his authority, it is Feta who’s allegedly trying to undermine him.
“Feta is against me because of my role as a whip. He’s envious. He says he can’t be directed by anyone because he’s a directly elected member. But who’s not elected? We’re all elected but there are ground rules governing all of us when we reach here. He’s yet to understand this” an inspector quoted Atima as saying.
We hear, Feta claims that since Atima and himself are both new MPs, he feels he doesn’t need any lecture from the him even as other West Nile MPs have vowed to continue supporting Atima because they view him as a team player.
“He’s a man you can’t gossip about because he’s open. He’s not an intriguer. Nobody should take away this harmony. Can you imagine, it’s under his leadership as a whip that a whole Committee of Parliament visited this sub-region? Who else has done this before? And this WENRECO thing I am beginning to think it was politics at play” says a female MP who refused to be quoted. Indeed, MP Songa who was the lead petitioner; warned members against blaming WENRECO for the power shortages in West Nile sub-region. He said WENRECO can only give out what is generated and can’t go beyond that limit. He called for more power generation if the region is to have steady power supply.
The Atima-Feta alleged feud is not new. Former MP for Arua City Ibrahim Abiriga (RIP) and former Ayivu MP Bernard Atiku also picked a quarrel and nearly went for each other’s throat at parliament.