Former Presidential candidate John Katumba was the center of
drama at a Parliament committee meeting after he resorted to pleading with
members to buy his book.
Katumba was last Thursday appearing before the Parliamentary committee on
Human Rights probing violence stemming from the 2021 elections.
Katumba who entered the committee about an hour late left
members bemused after he said he could not proceed with the hearing because
there were no men present in the committee. At the time, the committee had only
four female MPs led by the Vice-chairperson Agnes Taaka Wejuli.
The committee moved on and started interacting with
former Presidential candidate Fred Mwesigye, until a male MP appeared for them
to get back to Katumba.
Katumba decried violence in the elections saying that he has
been made to feel like contesting was a crime as he was brutalized during the
campaigns and even his security also manhandled. This was in apparent reference to an incident in Fort Portal when the presidential candidate was being beaten up by security and his police guards had to engage in physical battle with them to protect their charge.
Katumba says the playing field was not level as President Museveni used state resources while the other candidates struggled to traverse the
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Katumba said the elections were total destruction and not just a violation of human rights. He says the fact that the Electoral Commission is
appointed by the President, it is not fair.
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However Katumba also told the committee that his life was
also under danger as he was being trailed and his home broken into last week by
He also told the committee that he was struggling to make
ends meet as he was no longer getting the generous contributions from the voters.
This was when the committee proposed to write to the police to give him security,
but he said he didn’t need them because he would not be able to afford them.
He also said that he had tried looking for a job after the
elections and had failed, and so had now resorted to selling books.
It is at this point that Katumba started to talk about
his book and pleading with members to buy copies. He was selling his book “Untold
story of John Katumba” at 200,000
shillings and he had a bag full of the books, which he said detail his experience before
the elections and nominations. According to Katumba, the book also details the torture and violations he underwent before nominations.
However when MPs heard that the book was being sold at 200,000 Shillings,
they questioned the amount, adding that the book should be at most 50,000 Shillings. Katumba
pleaded with the MPs to buy his book, saying it was the only way he has of earning
a living for now and supporting his family.
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At the end of the committee, the chairperson of the
the committee, Agness Taaka Wejuli, and James Baba the MP Koboko bought a copy each,
before Katumba went to the corridors of Parliament to flog his merchandise to others.
A few sympathetic Journalists and Staff at Parliament bought some copies.