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Minister Namuganza’s censure dropped as Parliament amends Order Paper

by Editorial Team
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By Paul Kiwuuwa

The anticipated censure motion against the Minister of State for Lands, Housing, and Urban Development, Persis Namuganga, slated for January 6, 2023, has been dropped from Parliament’s order paper to an unknown date.

According to the order paper that was released on Tuesday, January 3, the House was scheduled to sit this Friday, January 6 and constitute a select committee to scrutinise Namuganza’s censure motion.

However, on Wednesday, January 4, an amendment to Friday’s Order Paper was suddenly released by Parliament, with only five items excluding the matter to constitute the select committee to consider the resolution of Parliament to censure Namuganza, which was item number three on the order paper.

 On Monday, the Clerk to Parliament, Adolf Mwesige, issued a notice recalling all Members of Parliament for a plenary sitting slated for Friday afternoon, which is an odd day for Parliament sittings.

 Item three (3) of the initial order paper that accompanied Mwesige’s notice indicated the constitution of the Select Committee to consider the motion for the resolution of the House according to Rule 109 (9) of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament that provides for a vote of censure against ministers.

Now a section of Members of Parliament who preferred anonymity observed that the sudden amendment of the order paper was prompted by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa’s absence in the country, yet Speaker Anita Among, who is perceived as an interested party in the matter, may not chair proceedings in the House with fairness.

They argued that Among’s deputy Tayebwa is the only one able to handle the matter yet he is currently attending the four-day Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers’ Conference in the Australian capital, Canberra which started on Tuesday, January 3, will end on Friday, January 6, 2023.

Another MP said: “The Clerk to Parliament may have scrapped the debate relating to the vote of censure against Minister Namuganza until Tayebwa returns.”

There is another school of thought that the 14-day period, which is provided to the Speaker by the Parliamentary Rules of Procedures to appoint a Select Committee may have not matured from the date the motion of censure was transmitted to the President.

This implies that the House will restrict itself to two issues on the amended order paper; handling motion for the adoption of the Public Accounts Committee.

PAC Local Government, and 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). 

Last December, a motion was tabled. On December 23, 2022, John Amos Okot, the Agago North Member of Parliament, sought a resolution of Parliament to censure Namuganza for contempt of Parliament after 200 legislators signed a petition to support the process.

The lawmakers accuse Namuganza of making defamatory remarks against an ad-hoc committee of Parliament set to probe her involvement in the controversial Nakawa-Naguru land giveaway to some investors. The Committee had recommended that the Minister steps aside for falsifying a presidential directive that misguided the Uganda Land Commission – ULC to allocate the land in question.

Namuganza reportedly described the House as powerless and unable to censure her, comments that were construed to undermine the integrity of the presiding officers. Notably, debates in the House relating to the matter were presided over by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa.

Namuganza, the elected representative of Bukono County in Namutumba District, has since denied the allegations and instead accused the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, of witch-hunting her to settle a personal score.

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