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‘I won’t leave NUP or quit as commissioner of parliament,’ Mpuuga vows

The Deputy President of National Unity Platform (NUP) Mr Mathias Mpuuga addressing the media at Parliament on Tuesday, March 26, 2024 (Photo/Courtesy)

Kampala, (UG):- The National Unity Platform (NUP) deputy President (Central) and Nyendo-Mukungwe MP, Hon Mathias Mpuuga has maintained his position that he is not going anywhere and won’t be forced out or pressured by the party to step down as Commissioner of Parliament.

Mpuuga, who is also the former Leader of Opposition in Parliament revealed this on Tuesday morning while addressing the media at his offices inside parliament chambers.

“I am here to affirm that I am not leaving NUP, a party I founded with my colleagues consciously,” Mpuuga vowed,” adding, “I am not here to destroy or kill it.”

His remarks came just hours after NUP made public a letter addressed to Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among to put in action the withdrawal of Mpuuga as COmmissioner of Parliament and have him replaced with Hon Francis Zaake, the Mityana Municipality legislator.

The letter dated March 18, 2024, undersigned by the NUP Secretary-General, David Lewis Rubongoya, read thus; “You will recall that on December 22, 2023, I notified you of the Party’s decision to nominate Hon. Mathias Mpuuga as Commissioner of Parliament in accordance with Section 2(2b) of the Administration of Parliament Act and Rule 11(4) of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament.”

“The Party has now decided to withdraw its nomination of Hon. Mathias Mpuuga and consequently recalled him from that position. Accordingly, the Party hereby nominates Hon. Zaake Francis, who was unconstitutionally removed from that position on March 10, 2022 (as confirmed by the Constitutional Court in Const. Petition No. 6 of 2022),” it (the letter) adds.

“If Hon. Mathias Mpuuga remains in the Parliamentary Commission as a Member, he will do so without the mandate of the Party and the opposition platform.”

The recent development and bickering with the young political party with an escalating showdown between Mpuuga, who is fully backed by Buganda Kingdom royals and the elite that played a key role in the mobilisation of political support for Bobi Wine’s rise as the face of opposition in the country.

Formerly a minister in Kabaka’s Central government, Mpuuga has since warned of a protracted battle against his rivals right from within the political party.

“At least nobody has moved to the level of even thinking about deserting a party I founded. So, whoever thought that they were hounding me out of NUP, I am here to assure them that whichever indiscipline, mismanagement, or mischievous manoeuvres, we are going to be in. If you are a leader, a foot soldier, and you have bought data to abuse and insult, insult me from within,” said Mpuuga.

Mpuuga’s woes

The National Unity Platform accuses Mpuuga of engaging in acts of “corruption and abuse of office” when he, together with members of the NRM Parliamentary Commission, irregularly allocated himself Shs500m of the 1.7 billion shillings categorised as “service awards” in a meeting chaired by Speaker of Parliament Anita Among.

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At that time, Mpuuga was the Leader of the Opposition in the House before he was dropped from the position and appointed Commissioner of Parliament.

Although NUP asked Mpuuga to return the money he received, apologize to Ugandans, and step down voluntarily from his role as Parliament Commissioner, he has defiantly refused to honour any of the party’s request

Instead, Mpuuga responding to NUP’s letter to Among, said his position on the matter is well known and that he would not step down as Commissioner of Parliament.

“I have seen a copy of a letter circulating on social media; the owner of the copy is visible from the bottom of the letter. The letter is addressed to the Right Honorable Speaker of Parliament. And I am only informed of the contents by copy. I will not respond to that save to restate my position as stated earlier to the party and the nation that I have found the facts that I confess no wrongdoing, whether in law or common sense,” Mpuuga said on Tuesday morning at Parliament Chambers in Kampala.

“The position of the law has been clarified to whoever wishes to understand but not to deliberately slander, and to those who want to deliberately slander me or gain short-term political capital out of the current situation. So I did state my position; it is the question of the law and common sense,” he added.

“I wish to reassure all comrades in the struggle for a fair Uganda that my commitment has never waned. I am not and shall never be part of any form of corruption. I have never been indicted of corruption, I am never corrupt, and nobody will invite me to corruption.”

Mpuuga also rebuked NUP’s methods of work, including exposing its dirty linen in public.

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“When we find ourselves disagreeable on anything in our midst, as a party, as change-seeking forces, we must find the mechanisms for mature resolutions, which are different from grandstanding and the desire to settle political scores at the expense of the reputations of comrades, with whom we struggle to offer the country better leadership,” said Mpuuga, a lawyer by profession.

Below is Mpuuga’s full press statement

The law is on Mpuuga’s side. NUP would need a third of MPs to oust Mpuuga from the position of Commissioner of Parliament.

The internal bickering in NUP has raised concerns that the biggest opposition political party is headed for a split just two years ahead of the 2026 elections.

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