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Rules committee chairperson defends committee work

Security Minister Gen. Elly Tumwine appearing before the Rules Committee.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  |  During each session of parliament, the Speaker of parliament directs the Rules, Discipline and Privileges Committee to investigate allegations of misconduct against some legislators.

The committee is mandated to investigate complaints of contempt of parliament, breach of privileges and indiscipline among others.

The Committee conducts investigations, compiles a report and makes recommendations to parliament. However, little is known of what happens there after.

This year, the committee investigated allegations of threatening violence the Dokolo Woman MP, Cecilia Ogwal leveled against Security Minister, Gen. Elly Tumwine.

Ogwal petitioned parliament accusing Tumwine of drawing his gun on her while fuming and threatening to harm her. The committee investigated the allegations, presented its findings and recommendations to parliament.

According to the committee, the report was debated and adopted by parliament.  Tumwine was found guilty of breaching the parliamentary privileges.

The Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga suspended the implementation of the committee recommendation, saying she needs to speak to Ogwal and Tumwine.

Clement Ogalo Obote, the Chairperson of the Rules, Discipline and Privileges Committee, says he doesn’t know what happened there after. According to Ogalo, their work stops once their report and goes to the house.

Another case the committee handled was the conflict involving Persis Namuganza, the former Lands State Minister who was accused of making derogatory statements against the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga and inciting the public against the Kyabazinga of Busoga, William Gabula Nadiope.

The Committee recommended that Namuganza apologizes to the Speaker or be suspended in regards to her conduct. Ogalo notes that although they presented their report to the clerk’s office, the matter was overtaken by events since the house had lots of business until the session ended.    

Ogalo notes that whenever a session ends with a pending matter, it dies out because the new session starts with different issues. He cites their report on the media, which he was also overtaken by events.

In 2016, parliament ordered a probe into what it called bad media coverage in regards to the unreasonable expenditure of up to Shillings 2 billion to facilitate 78 MPs to attend the Ugandan North American Association (UNAA) convention in three different states in the US, vehicle grants and burial expenses for MPs.    

However, the report also did not see the light of the day. Ogalo notes that the some of the matters are resolved internally.

The Committee also couldn’t investigate the allegations of misconduct leveled against 39 MPs in relations to the chaos in parliament during the heated debate on the Constitutional amendment bill, which paved way for the scrapping of the presidential age limit.

Ogalo says the committee couldn’t proceed with its investigations as the matter was already before the court and advice from the Deputy Speaker that the matter was water under the bridge that needed not to be investigated.

“The conduct of the members was one of the issues being decided by the Court in Mbale and for the committee to continue with it would be deemed as subjudice,” Ogalo said.  The committee also concluded the Water State Minister, Ronald Kibuule for carrying a firearm during plenary.

On the failure to implement the committee recommendations, the Masaka Municipality MP, Mathias Mpuuga says sometimes mediation and negotiations are considered because the MPs are dealing with colleagues.

He says a committee has high court powers and parties are encouraged to mediate and negotiate.

He however, notes that most of the committee reports never come before the House. He says the report on Gen. Tumwine didn’t see the light of the day, saying that the matter was debated generally.

The committee is yet to present its finding into the allegations of misconduct leveled against the Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake.

He is accused of harassing Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Barnabas Nawangwe when he interfaced with the Education Committee about the stalemate on the implementation of the 15 percent tuition increment.




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