KAMPALA, UGANDA: Parliament has finally passed a motion to censure the State minister for Lands, Housing, and Urban Development Ms Persis Namuganza over misconduct and contempt of Parliament.
In a plenary held on Monday, January 23, 348 out of the 356 MPs in the house voted in favour of censuring the embattled minister while 5 voted against the motion and only 3 MPs did not participate in the voting process.
The Deputy Speaker of parliament Hon Thomas Tayebwa who presided over the voting said he would inform the President of the censure motion within 24 hours as stipulated by Rule 109(13) of the Rules of Procedure.
Namuganza’s woes started after a recommendation by an ad hoc committee led by Mwine Mpaka suggested that the minister should be censured for her role in the Naguru-Nakawa land allocation and contempt of parliament.
MP Mwine in the report tabled before parliament stated that Namuganza failed in her duty to at all times conduct herself in a manner which would maintain and strengthen the public’s trust and confidence in the integrity of Parliament.
When the ad hoc committee on censure started its proceedings on January 12, Ms Namuganza was no show for all the hearings. Her legal representative, Mr Norman Pande of Mwanja and Pande Advocates, who appeared in one of the subsequent sittings said his client had not been given enough time to prepare herself for the interface.
The minister protested the findings of the committee and the censorship calling it a witch-hunt, and contempt of court, and blamed Speaker Anita Among for peddling what she called a personal grudge against her.
Before all of this, Ms Namuganza who is also the Bukono MP had been given an opportunity to bury the hatchet by apologising to the House, which she blatantly rejected.
Ms Namuganza seemed not to have any lucky charm as members from both ends of the divide did not have any kind words for her.
Mr Yusuf Mutembuli, Bunyole East MP said, “When I was still a student at Uganda Christian University, our Vice-Chancellor then, Mr Stephen Noll, said any leader of who does not have respect for others is as good as garbage. The time is now to bring sanity to this House, time for Ugandans to respect us.”
Mr Nathan Byanyima, the Bukanga North MP said, Ms Namuganza has a track record of undermining others.
“I would be the last person to get involved in this censure but she is too much; we are all equal. I implore all of us to vote this motion,” he said.
Ms Laura Kanushu, PWD representative, said, “It is hypocritical of us to put up rules which we [MPs] cannot respect, we are only bring shame to this House and we shall be a laughing stock in this country.”
Mr Banarbas Tinkasimiire, the Buyaga West MP said, “It is with pain that we have to move this indictment; the colleague has been in this House for more than one term. She survived maybe she found a soft spot in the previous Parliament and took it for granted.”
Kira Municipality MP, Mr Ssemujju Nganda, was however, concerned about the outcome of Parliament’s resolution, noting that the President has in the past reappointed ministers who had been censured by the House.
“Rule 109 under which this process is being conducted, requires that the decision is communicated to the President in 24 hours. This Parliament censured ministers but they were re-elected. Also, I wonder with all the things that have been said about Namuganza, why does the president still appoint her? Maybe he needs checking,” Mr Ssemujju said.
What Next for Namuganza?
Namuganza’s censure means it is now up to the President, who is the appointing authority, to replace her with someone else, but she is expected to retain her seat in Parliament as the elected Bukono MP despite the censorship.