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Namuganza censure; a clash of egos or a plot to bring down Speaker Anita Among?


Namuganza censure; a clash of egos or a plot to bring down Speaker Anita Among?

Housing State Minister Persis Namuganza. Pix by Capital FM

By the time of writing this article, a petition to censure Housing State Minister Persis Namuganza had received 200 signatures out of the 556 MPs in Uganda’s Parliament.

The petition will be one of the pieces of evidence, movers of the censure motion will use to persuade the President and perhaps the NRM caucus to support or reject the motion to pass a vote of non-confidence in the Minister.

The censure motion arose from a report of the Parliamentary Committee on Rules, Privileges, and Discipline, which recommended that the House invoke Article 118(1) (b) of the Constitution and Rule 106 of the Rules of Procedure to censure Persis Namuganza.

Minister Namuganza is accused of bringing disrepute to her office as Minister, as well as the institution of Parliament when she allegedly said that Parliament cannot censure her for abusing a presidential directive in allocating land in the Nakawa-Nagguru estate.

MPs alleged that Minister Namuganza went against the Presidential directive to allocate 15 acres of the Nakawa-Nagguru land to one company called Virginia. MP Daudi Kabanda, claims that Namuganza forged another letter in which she allocated 5 acres to herself.

But Namuganza denies all the accusations and says the alleged abuse is not backed by evidence, but is rather a witch-hunt.

Namuganza has described the censure as a targeted move against her family by Among and her ‘husband’ Eng. Moses Magogo (MP Budiope East).

She accused the powerful couple of avenging against her family and her husband, one, Geoffrey Rwakabaale, who was recently sacked from the job as Makindye Town Clerk.

Namuganza’s husband One Rwakabaale declared Among’s marriage illegal

Namuganza alleged that Among tried to force her husband Rwakabaale into ‘a fraudulent marriage’ when they allegedly forced him to sign their marriage papers even without appearing before him, as the law requires.

It is claimed that before Rwakabaale was sacked from the Town Clarks’s job recently, he had declared Among and Magogo’s marriage illegal because Magogo had not divorced his former wife, but also that the pair had not presented themselves before him as the law requires.

According to Namuganza, this is the reason she’s being witch-hunted with ‘fabrications’ of wrong-doing in the alleged land saga.

But it’s rather the way she questioned the authority of the leadership of Parliament in appointing an ad-hoc committee that investigated her, that appears to have insensed the members who interpreted it as understanding their authority.

Minister Namuganza has a reputation of immense personal pride, although some call her a 6ⁿfighter.

It is perhaps this ‘exaggerated sense of her own no nonsense attitude’ that has got her into trouble with Speaker Anita Among.

Namuganza has dared Speaker Among by claiming that she and her ‘husband’ Magogo procured a fraudulent marriage.

Magogo was previously married to someone else, but it is believed his Islamic faith allowed him to add Among as a second wife.

Although the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja tried to get Namuganza to apologise on the floor of Parliament, she was adamant.

This sense of inflated ego, coming from both sides, it appears, is what is at the root of the matter.

Some however argue that there could be a bigger plot behind Namuganza’s anger, one that is aimed at bringing down Speaker Among.

The Censure motion has garnered support across the political divide. Dan Kimosho (NRM, Kazo County), one of the seconders of the censure motion, argued that it will restore the dignity of Parliament.

He said: “Some of us were inspired to join politics and later on Parliament because we thought it was high above the bar; discipline, dignity and decorum are known norms of any institution.”

Busiro County East MP Messed Lubega Sseggona (NUP) also argued that Namuganza’s adamant refusal to apologise for her ‘mistakes’ strengthened the belief that she undermines the authority of Parliament and its leadership.

MP Mourine Osoru (NRM, Arua City) said censuring the troubled minister is in keeping with safeguarding Parliament’s image. She accused the junior lands minister of holding colleagues in contempt.

But some members of the general public have been angered by the way Parliament has devoted precious time massaging the ego of someone instead of focusing on more important issues such as the poor state of roads, high number of road accidents, resources and the poor state of the economy.

“This Parliament is really trivial,” wrote one Oluka Paul, “Why waste time on issues which don’t affect the common people? Parliament would look serious on the eyes of the public if it was discussing issues of poor health services, bad roads, poverty, bad roads etc than personal differences.What a shame?”

Some of the reactions from the public

Deputy speaker Thomas Tayebwa has dampened the mood of the pro-censure camp by stating that the President will have a say in the troubles facing his Minister.

Tayebwa said: “The motion of censure shall not be debated until the expiry of 30 days after the petition has been sent to the President.”

He added: “The motion is not subject to debate. After tabling the motion, within 72 hours, the Speaker will write to the President to inform his Minister that Parliament intends to censure the Minister.

After, (the expiry of 30 days) that is when we shall receive the report of the committee and the House will vote on the report of the committee.”

Although there have been censure of Ministers before, this one is most likely to fail, because of the apparent lack of public support.

In other words, it may prove cheaper to reconcile Among and Namuganza than risk losing an important ally and the attendant political support that she may command.



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