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Mpuuga makes U-turn on resigning as commissioner, vows to school Bobi and NUP cliques

Kampala, (UG):- The former Leader of Opposition and current Member of Parliament for Nyendo-Mukungwe Municipality, Hon Mathias Mpuuga has vowed not resign as Parliamentary Commissioner citing political witch-hunt with the National Unity Platform (NUP), and those close to it’s President Robert Kyagulanuyi Ssentamu.

“I accordingly decline the cowardly call on me to resign as a parliamentary commissioner, based on spite, envy, and deliberate misrepresentation,” said Mpuuga in a bold statement issued on Friday.

In a two page statement, Mpuuga, who is also the Deputy President of the NUP in Buganda Region said he would not be deterred by a clique of family members in the party a veiled reference- referencing to the influence of his Principal, Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine and his close relatives.

“I wish to assure the general membership of the NUP and all change-seeking forces that… 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,” said Mpuuga.

“I will not stop raising important questions about the actions, motivation, and direction of different actors in the party, even in the face of the current tribulations, well-choreographed to undermine and depict me as unfit to lead.”

The Opposition National Unity Platform Thursday said Mpuuga had agreed to step down as a Commissioner of Parliament for 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.

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.

The NUP in a statement on Thursday told the country that following a meeting convened by senior party leaders on Wednesday including all deputy presidents, convened by party leader Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, “Mpuuga admitted that he indeed took part in this wrongdoing and apologized for the same.”

“In light of this, he was strongly advised that the moral thing to do in the circumstances is to step down from his role as Parliamentary Commissioner with immediate effect,” a statement by NUP read on Thursday evening.

Mpuuga makes U-turn

However, Hon Mpuuga, who has for long come under fire for allegedly meddling in affairs with the ruling NRM government Friday issued a direct challenge of NUP’s top leadership saying the call for his resignation was “based on falsehoods and terrible misapprehension of facts, including basic ones.”

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The former DP stalwart also described the meeting of party leaders that pressured him to quit as “an informal conversation.”

According to Mr Mpuuga, the duties and roles of the Parliamentary Commission are well stipulated in the laws of the land, including voting funds for all political offices, including the LOP’s office.

“It takes care of the welfare of ordinary members and their leaders in Parliament, including determining the range of legally permissible payments, which may be salary, allowances, gratuity, honoraria, and car grants, among others,” the Masaka City legislator explained.

“Every decision of the Commission to confer or reward anyone under its charge is subjected to the relevant committees of Parliament for legality, feasibility, sustainability, and relevancy. To call any such payment corruption is the highest level of spite, double standards, and deliberate misrepresentation to the public and membership in the party on a purely selfish mission,” he added.

“If such payments amounted to corruption, all current and previous MPs would be compelled to refund to the public coffers monies paid as gratuity or honoraria since no MP, current or previous, was not paid gratuity at the determination of the parliamentary commission.”

Nevertheless, Mpuuga said the general public has every right to question the decisions of their leaders at every level.

“This right should never be exploited by self-seekers, opportunists, and populists to undermine, berate, and smear those they consider unpalatable in their brand of politics,” he observed.

“The campaign to character assassinate me is deliberate, and I am perfectly aware. It’s well orchestrated and well-funded. I am ready for the worst if it takes this sacrifice to return sanity and common sense to our politics. I am available as ever to help this young party rid any form of corruption from its rank and file, especially that ingrained at the base of the party,” said Mpuuga.

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Mpuuga said the “general public is aware and alive to the internal intrigue and machinations unfortunately within this young party over the last 2½ years, during my occupation of the coveted office of the LOP.”

He said, “It became the official style of different party leaders to undermine my work, including the hiring of 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.”

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.

On the X platform, one Aaron Nze observed: “I think our Parliament just has too much money; they just run out of names for expenditure lines, but there is plenty of money to waste. Then the realization that there is no opposition when it comes to money.”

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