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Bobi Wine vows to deal with corrupt NUP leaders, urges Mpuuga to apologise

National Unity Platform (NUP) president Mr Robert Kyagulanyi (centrer) with Former Leader of Opposition in Parliament Mathias Mpuuga (right) on December 28, 2023. On the extreme left is NUP Secretary General David lewis Rubongoya. Photo/ Courtesy of @MathiasMpuuga on X

Kampala, (UG): The Opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party president, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has reiterated his commitment to non-tolerance of corruption and office abuse by the party members as the wave of political in-fights continues to infiltrate the country’s youngest political party.

Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine in his Friday address at the NUP headquarters in Makerere Kavule, urged Hon Mathias Mpuuga, the deputy NUP President for Buganda Region and former leader of Opposition to step down from his role as commissioner of parliament and apologise to the nation.

“As leaders, we advised him [Mpuuga] to do three things; to return the dirty money, apologise to the nation and resign from the commission as a sign of goodwill and integrity,” said Bobi Wine emphasizing that the party principles and commitments to the public are clear, which among others include fighting against corruption and ensuring transparency.

“It is on this note that I want to remind you that I will not cover up for any corruption. I will not be like [President] Museveni whose ministers steal money meant for Karamoja iron sheets and he ‘covers’ up for them,” Mr Kyagulanyi, a former presidential candidate and MP vowed.

Bobi further clarified that the NUP leadership is ready to reconcile with Mpuuga as well as offering him the necessary support, including rehabilitation, only if he apologises and steps down from the post of parliamentary commissioner.

“We have a strong stand against corruption, however, we also committed that if our comrade [Mpuuga] does that right thing to disassociate with corruption, apologise to the people of Uganda and resign from that commission, then we shall be willing to come together and rehabilitate him. Now it is upon him to heed to the noble call and do what is right,” he said.

The NUP Boss’ remarks came barely a day after the party on Thursday announced in a statement that Hon Mpuuga, their former Leader of Opposition in Parliament had agreed to step down from his role as parliamentary commissioner after admitting to misusing his position and office to award himself a staggering shs500m package towards the end of his term.

Mpuuga fires back

However, Hon Mpuuga Friday responded to the NUP statement refusing to resign from his position as the party had requested him to do so last evening.

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In a two-page statement released via his official X account, Mpuuga, also the MP for Nyendo-Mukungwe Division in Masaka City, described the party’s resignation request as a “cowardly call” masterminded by an inside deliberate and “funded campaign to character-assassinate” him.

“It became the official style of different party leaders to undermine my work, including hiring bloggers to abuse and insult my person….. I stayed committed and calm throughout these most compelling times because the call to serve above self remained my creed,” Mr Mpuuga said.

“I wish to assure the general membership of NUP and all change-seeking forces that, this shall remain my resolve; and I cannot be deterred by small-group-family interests being peddled to blur the bigger picture of how the Party is being managed without transparency,” he added.

The Shs500m scandal

Mpuuga is accused of taking part in the design of a controversial financial scheme in which he pocketed a staggering Shs 500 million of taxpayers’ money.

The stipend, categorised as ‘service award’ was passed during a meeting of the Parliamentary Commission held on May 6, 2022, in the Speaker’s boardroom at the Parliament Building.

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Mpuuga was among those who attended the meeting, which resolved to grant a ‘one-time pay-off service award of Shs 500m for the Leader of Opposition’ and another pay-off of Shs 400m to the backbench Parliament commissioners.

While Mpuuga seeks to defend the manner in which the service award was determined, Ugandans see the huge sum of money dished out to him and the commissioners as unacceptable.

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