KAMPALA –The much-anticipated debate on the censure motion against the Minister of State for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Persis Namuganza has been put off, hours after the Clerk to Parliament, Adolf Mwesige had issued a notice – recalling all MPs from recess.
Mwesige notified MPs how parliament would hold a special plenary sitting on Friday to specifically constitute a Select Committee to consider a motion for the resolution that provides for a vote of censure against Ministers.
But the order paper, according to reliable sources, has been amended – with the item removed. A section of lawmakers who preferred anonymity, observed that the sudden amendment was prompted by the absence of deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, because Among is perceived as an interested party in the matter – and cannot chair the proceedings with fairness.
The source contended that Tayebwa was the only official who could handle the matter but was currently attending the four-day Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers’ Conference in the Australian capital, Canberra, which ends January 6 – the very day the debate had been scheduled.
However, the House’s planned meeting on Friday would go on –handling a motion for the adoption of the Public Accounts Committee (Local Government) in addition to a motion for the adoption of the report of the Committee on Physical Infrastructure on the delayed payment of contractors hired by the Uganda National Roads Authority – UNRA.
The Clerk had invited MPs barely two weeks after the deputy Speaker, Tayebwa had adjourned the House but without an appointed date for resumption.
Tayebwa’s communication to the House then indicated that the process of a censure motion against Namuganza had already started and ‘would be followed to the latter.’
Tayebwa’s communication followed a motion tabled through Agago North MP, John Amos Okot, seeking a resolution of Parliament after 200 legislators had signed a petition to support the censure motion against the Minister for contempt of parliament.
Minister Namuganza’s trouble started after comments she made against a probe into the Nakawa-Naguru land giveaway.
An ad-hoc committee of Parliament that had been tasked to investigate the matter recommended that Namuganza steps aside for falsifying a presidential directive that misguided the Uganda Land Commission – ULC to allocate the said land to some dubious investors.
But Namuganza reportedly described the House as powerless and unable to censure her, comments that were construed to undermine the integrity of the presiding officers.
Namuganza, the elected representative of Bukono County in Namutumba district has since denied the allegations and accused the Speaker of Parliament, Annet Anita Among of witch-hunting her to settle a personal score – especially in a matter regarding her alleged fake marriage to Fufa president, Moses Magogo – who doubles as the Budiope East MP.
“I have been directed by the Rt. Hon. Speaker to inform you that there will be a Plenary Sitting Friday 6, 2023 at 12 noon,” reads, the Clerk’s notice dated January 2, 2023, addressed to all Members of Parliament.
On the day’s order paper, Members of Parliament will convene to constitute a select Committee to consider the motion for a resolution of the House pursuant to rule 109 (9) of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament.
The rule stipulates that 14 days from the date of transmission of the Motion to the President, the Speaker shall cause to be appointed a Select Committee to which the Motion and all supporting documents shall be referred and the Committee shall scrutinise and identify evidence to the allegations in the Motion among others things.
Additional reporting by URN