The nature of politics in Africa is quite fascinating. It would seem the clear roles of the three arms of government (executive, judiciary and legislative) are elusive to others. This is the case with a Ugandan lawmaker who has dismantled community boreholes he helped develop following an embarrassing loss for the parliamentary by-elections.
Patrick Okumu-Ringa was excruciatingly disgruntled by the poll result such that he did not care about the plight of people, he simply had to vent his monumental frustration on the people who did not vote for him. He lost resoundingly in the Nebbi Municipality parliamentary by-election.
He dismantled the boreholes he had sunk in the area which had been supplying constituents with water free of charge for the past two decades. All the development projects in the area have come to a halt. So frustrated is he that he told the people to look for water elsewhere.
He says that people have abused his generosity to the point that they did not want to give him another term in office. Well. He said that he would reconcile with the people at a later time he deems appropriate. Talk of being seriously hurt.
"I am hurt, but I will reconcile with residents and assemble the boreholes. For now, let them look for water elsewhere. Our people are not appreciative. All I wanted from them was votes. I have educated so many children, but all they tell me is that I have done nothing," he said.
"I used my money to sink the boreholes, and in any case, even National Water and Sewerage Corporation doesn't supply free water," he added.
Water supply is problematic and not reliable in Uganda. Around 24 million Ugandans cannot access suitable water for drinking and sanitation.
But what are the roles of a legislator? Is a lawmaker supposed to be involved in developmental projects? Or they can simply push for it by making laws and holding the powers that be for development accountable?
Okumu-Ringa accepted responsibility for the damage and boasted that his actions would be of no consequence since he funded the water project.
His failed bid for re-election saw the dismantling process starting on Monday, and being completed on Wednesday.
He was the state minister for Public Service when he lost his seat in 2006 and has made unsuccessful attempts to return to Parliament. He ran as an independent in the recently held by-elections after losing the ruling party's primary elections.
Header image credit: CNN