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Okot tables Namuganza censure motion

Agago North MP John Amos Okot tabled a motion of censure against Minister Persis Namuganza.

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | John Amos Okot, the Agago North Member of parliament has tabled a motion seeking a resolution of the House to pass a vote of censure against Persis Namuganza, the Minister of State for Housing. He tabled the motion during plenary chaired by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa on Friday.

At least 196 Members of Parliament have appended their signatures to the motion over and above the required 176 legislators. Article 118 of the Constitution provides that Parliament may, by resolution supported by more than half of all members, pass a vote of Censure against a Minister on grounds of abuse of office, misconduct or misbehavior, physical or mental incapacity, mismanagement, or incompetence.

“Upon a vote of Censure being passed against a Minister, the President shall, unless the Minister resigns his or her office, take appropriate action in the matter,” reads part of the Constitution. On the other hand, Parliament’s Rules of Procedure provides for the Vote of Censure Process against Ministers and requires any member desirous of moving this motion to notify the Clerk in writing of his or her intention, citing the ground for the proposed censure motion and giving detailed particulars supporting such grounds.

“The Clerk shall, within three days upon receipt of the notice of censure notify Parliament by causing the notice, the ground, and particulars supporting the ground of proposed censure motion to be pinned on the Members’ notice board. The Clerk shall on the date and time of pinning the notice of censure cause to be prepared and deposited with the Sergeant-at-Arms, for a period of ten working days, a list of all MPs with an open space against each name for purposes of appending signatures,” the rules read in part.

The rules require that any signature appended to the list shall not be withdrawn and after at least one-third of the MPs have appended their signatures in support of the proposed censure, the Sergeant-at-Arms shall forward the list to the Clerk. Out of the total 529 MPs in the 11th Parliament, the movers of the censure motion required a total of 176 signatures for it to make it to the order paper.

Deputy Speaker Tayebwa said that he perused through the list of signatures and ascertained that 196 MPs signed the censure motion within the deadline. He also informed the House that the mover of the motion is in possession of another list of 259 MPs who signed the motion beyond the 10 mandatory days.

Rule 109 (7) of the Parliament rules of procedure requires the Speaker on receipt of a proposed censure motion and its grounds from the Clerk to Parliament, to cause it to be placed on the order paper.

“Yesterday the Clerk to parliament served me and within 24 hours as per the rules, I had to call the House and ensure that the motion is tabled on the floor. I now invite the petitioner to formally move the censure and lay all the supporting documents and colleagues, this motion according to Article 118 (5) of the Constitution is not subject to debate,” said Tayebwa.

In his motion, MP Okot said that Namuganza made statements about parliament in the media and on social media, attacking the operations of parliament, questioning the powers of parliament, the integrity of the presiding officers of parliament, and imputing improper motive to parliament and its presiding officers.

Tayebwa said that he was going to write to the President in the next 72 hours to inform his Minister about the intention of parliament to censure her. He said that the letter has to clearly state the grounds and the signatures by MPs.

The Deputy Speaker further noted that after informing the President, he will appoint a select committee within 14 days that will investigate and give Namuganza a chance a defend herself.

After receiving the report of the select committee, the House will take a vote.

Parliament Okayed the proposed censure of Namuganza early this month after MPs adopted a report by the Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee recommending the same. The report followed an inquiry into allegations of misconduct leveled against Namuganza, who also doubles as the Bukono County MP by his Bukooli Central counterpart, Solomon Silwany on July 13, 2022.

Silwany accused Namuganza of using social media and television to criticize the operations of Parliament and questioning the powers and integrity of the presiding officers of Parliament to form Adhoc Committees.

Her comments against parliament came after another report compiled by the Adhoc committee that investigated the giveaway of Nakawa-Naguru land, which recommended that Namuganza steps aside as Minister for falsifying a presidential directive that led to the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) to allocate the land to some investors.

But Namuganza reportedly questioned the way investors and people who appear before parliamentary committees are handled, equating it to a torture chamber. In the subsequent probe, the committee found that statements by Namuganza were unfounded, baseless, malicious, demeaning, and contemptuous.



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