Kampala, Uganda | AFRICATEMBELEA | Peter Ssematimba, the incumbent MP for Busiro South has defended his decision last year to sit for the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education [UACE] despite of a court ruling that said he had the requisite academic qualifications.
Immediately after he was declared MP in 2016, his opponent, the Democratic Party’s Steven Ssekigozi went to court contending that Ssematimba’s academic qualifications from America weren’t equivalent to the A-level required for contesting as a Member of Parliament.
High Court judge, Lydia Mugambe held that indeed, Ssematimba’s foreign acquired qualifications didn’t equate to A-level hence ordering that the Electoral Commission organizes a fresh elections in Busiro South. However, a Court of Appeal panel led by the former deputy chief Justice Steven Kavuma quashed Mugambe’s ruling and held that Ssematimba had what it takes to be an MP.
In 2019, Ssematimba however stunned the country when it emerged that he was one of the students who sat for A-level exams that year. Speaking to URN after his nomination to contest for the same seat, Ssematimba said, sitting A–level exams was not acknowledgement that he wasn’t qualified. He instead said, he doesn’t want to go through the same nightmares he went through in 2016 after the court challenge.
He adds that he spent hundreds of millions in legal fees, a thing he doesn’t want to go through again this time round.
On the criticism by some of his detractors that he spends more time in parliament taking selfies and doing make up on himself than actual legislation, Ssematimba said the problem with people is that they speak about things they don’t understand. He said applying lip balm on his lips to stop them from drying up is not the same as doing make up. He vowed to continue doing everything that makes him who he is, even if it annoys some ‘ignorant people.’
Some of Ssematimba’s opponents who have been nominated today, accuse him of spending more time in Kampala and outside the country than attending to issues that affect his constituents. William Kagimu one of the candidates challenging Ssematimba said he has come to offer leadership that has evaded Ssematimba for close to five years he has been in parliament.
For Ssekigozi Steven who lost to Ssematimba in the previous election said, this time round, he is going to ensure that he protects what he called his victory that was snatched from him. Ssekigozi is contesting on the Democratic Party ticket whereas Ssematimba is sponsored by the ruling National Resistance Movement.