Uganda: Minister Namuganza Faces Censure

Kampala, Uganda — Parliament has passed a motion that could see the Minister of State for Housing, Persis Namuganza censured for derogatory remarks and disrespectful conduct.

Following investigations, the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline found Namuganza to have specifically insulted the leadership of Parliament for instituting an adhoc committee to investigate her over the Naguru-Nakawa land allocations.

It was alleged that Namuganza also took to social media and television questioning the operations, powers and integrity of the presiding officers of Parliament to form adhoc committees.

The Committee on Rules was then tasked to investigate the allegations and observed that the statements made by Namuganza on social media imputed improper motives on Parliament.

“Her statements therefore, were an affront to the dignity of Parliament; they denigrated public trust and confidence in the integrity of the Office of the Speaker, members and the institution of Parliament and brought the House and its members into disrepute,” the report read in part.

Medard Sseggona, Busiro East County MP said that humility is a strong virtue a leader needs to possess and must be always exercised. He added the minister should have realised her mistake and apologised.

“Humility is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of greatness of any leader. The committee conducted a thorough investigation and found your behaviour foul throughout the inquiry; you should apologise,” he added.

Kilak South County MP, Gilbert Olanya noted that the words by the minister on all forms of media to describe Parliament were uncalled for and showed disrespect.

“We need the appointing authority of ministers, being the President, to rescind the appointment of Namuganza and give us ministers who respect the code of conduct and have respect for Parliament,” he said.

Dan Atwijukire, Kazo County MP stated that the concern highlighted in the report is the dignity of Parliament and whether as legislators they are doing enough to preserve it.

Atwijukire added that his greatest dismay is seeing ministers perpetually insult and demean Parliament as an institution.

“Ministers need to remember that they are temporarily on the Front Bench and must therefore, watch their conduct towards Parliament because most of them originated from it as back-bench Members of Parliament,” he said.

Bunya South MP, Iddi Isabirye said that the most important course of action for Namuganza would be to apologise for mistakes because, ‘it is human to err’.

Bukooli County MP, Solomon Silwany implored fellow members to stand with the recommendations of the committee for the sake of protecting the sanctity of Parliament.

“Nobody is above the law and one loses nothing to act with dignity by conducting themselves within the boundaries of the rules governing this August House; we must defend the institution to the dot,” he said

Silwany noted that the debate of the report and final decision on the matter must be for the sake of upholding discipline and good conduct of leaders accountable to Parliament.

However, Namuganza held that she had petitioned the Constitutional Court on the recommendations.

When pressed further for an apology from the Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja and other legislators, she said that, ‘If I hurt anyone in anyway, I regret’.

However, Sseggona noted that by her conscious, the minister was reluctant to apologise even after being persuaded by the Prime Minister.

“What we witness is a cosmetic apology from the minister saying, ‘if I have… ‘ insinuating that she does not recognise her mistakes and disrepute for Parliament; she should not be coerced to apologise,” he added.

Sseggona then moved a motion to amend the report to provide for the commencement of the censure of Namuganza.

The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa said he had not received any communication regarding Namuganza’s move to petition the court over the committee report.

Following the passing of the motion, the Deputy Speaker guided that any Member of Parliament could kick start the censure process.

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