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Zaake: Mpuuga refusing to step down will mean he ‘is in NRM hands’

Mityana Municipality MP, Hon Francis Zaake Butebi (Photo/Courtesy)

Kampala, (UG):- Mityana Municipality MP, Hon Francis Zaake Butebi has advised his fellow legislator and Nyendo Mukungwe MP, Hon Mathias Mpuuga to hand over the Parliamentary Commissioner’s office, as per National Unity Platform (NUP)’s resolution.

Zaake, who was on Friday nominated by the top leadership of the party (National Executive Committee – NEC) to replace Mpuuga as commissioner, says this is the only honourable thing his opposition counterpart must do to redeem himself as a cadre of the party.

In an exclusive interview with Monitor‘s Peter Serugo on Sunday, Zaake said “Mpuuga’s refusal to step down would mean he is in the hands of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.”

Asked how the NUP NEC reached a consensus to choose him as Mpuuga’s replacement despite being earlier suspended from the same position, the Mityana legislator said he was reappointed in absentia despite him being part of the party’s top leadership. This according to him was to avoid conflict of interest in the nomination process.

“I am part of the NUP top leadership known as NEC but to avoid conflict of interest, I was advised to excuse myself from the meeting when the issue of who to replace Mpuuga was being discussed. When I came back, they told me that I had been reappointed to take on this responsibility, which I accepted,” Zaake told the local publication.

On why he feels he was nominated as the best candidate for this position, Zaake earmarked that during his previous term as commissioner before the suspension, he was doing a very good job and this, to him, must have convinced the NEC to reassign him the ask for the remain months of the term.

“I was the first commissioner when we got into parliament, and since I did a very good job, asking hard questions to ensure that the commission audits itself… it is the reason as to why I didn’t even spend a year before being kicked out of the commission,” he emphasized.

“So, I know that in case I get there [as a commissioner] what I am going to be doing is just a continuation of my work. That is one of the reasons why I accepted this reappointment. But if Mpuuga had come to the NEC meeting, I am so sure that the right person he would point at to perform that job so well would still be me.”

Zaake however clarified that his reappointment to replace his senior Mpuuga won’t in any way affect his relationship with the former Leader of Opposition, emphasizing that he has known him (Mpuuga) right from the time they were serving under the same commission.

“I have been serving with Mpuuga in the commission and I am sure he knows what I am capable of. I therefore don’t think that this is actually going to spoil any kind of relationship between us, unless we are not being sincere to ourselves,” he says.

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I am sure that when we meet somewhere, we shall talk about it. Mpuuga is that one person I have always called and picked up because he is my leader as a deputy party president. I actually loved him more when he accepted the fact that he made a mistake. We all make mistakes because they are normal, but it is important that when you accept the mistake, be ready to correct it,” Zaake added.

On what he would do if Mpuuga refused to surrender from his position as a commissioner, Zaake said that just the same way he (Mpuuga) accepted to hand over the LoP to Joel Ssenyonyi, is the same way he will do for him.

“…I am still in shock that Mpuuga said in one of the interviews that he will not accept to step down. I was surprised because that is not the honorable Mpuuga I know. The same way he accepted to leave [the position of the Leader of Opposition] for Joel Ssenyonyi, is the way I am too sure that he will do to me [on the Parliamentary Commissioner position].

“If he [Mpuuga] refuses to step down, then it will mean that he is in the hands of the NRM and he has accepted to work for the NRM, but I don’t think he will accept all what he has done in life to be put to the dust.”

The Mityana legislator also hit back at some of the party members who are against Mpuuga’s impeachment saying these are misguided and misled by people within the party with selfish, but they would never disrespect the decisions taken by the party’s leadership.

“Although we have misguided people like Abed Bwanika, Jimmy Lwanga and Twaha Kagabo, I don’t think Mpuuga is part of the people who can be misguided because he is a genius and I am sure he can never disrespect our party president and the decision of the party leadership,” he said.

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Adding; “The only honourable and moral thing that he is able to do is to step down and I am convinced that he will listen to the voices of reasons around him and do the right thing.”

“It is unfortunate that we are having these misunderstandings in the party, but these are giving Ugandans a lot of hope because at the end of it all they will know those who have been failing the party. What is happening now is like a test to know who is Mpuuga, who is Ssenyonyi or who is Zaake, and all other leaders. This is a litmus test to find out who is turning red or yellow.”

As adapted from Zaake’s interview with Monitor’s Peter Sserugo

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