Ministers Shun Committee Investigating Parliament Chaos

1763 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Ministers on Friday refused to submit to the committee set up by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to investigate the disruption of parliamentary proceedings earlier this week. The ministers say the committee on rules, privileges and discipline has no moral authority to summon them.

Ministers on Friday refused to submit to the committee set up by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to investigate the disruption of parliamentary proceedings earlier this week.
The ministers say the committee on rules, privileges and discipline has no moral authority to summon them.

The committee which is required to summon witnesses in the view of finding out who attempted to grab the Mace and who were behind the whole fracas, sent invitations to seven ministers since they sit on the front bench and could have had a clearer view of what transpired to share some information with them.

The ministers who included Attorney General Peter Nyombi, government chief whip Justin Kasule Lumumba, defence minister Crispus Kiyonga, Education minister Jessica Alupo and state minister for foreign affairs Okello Oryem refused to take oath.

They told the committee they wouldn’t take oath because they are not witnesses but wanted to submit a letter written by the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi. The committee also insisted that they can only give them any information after taking the oath or they leave the committee.

Committee chairman Fox Odoi told them that taking oath is committee’s procedure and that it applies to everyone.

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When Lumumba was telling the committee the option they had chosen, she said they wouldn’t take oath before a committee whose members took part in the chaos that disrupted parliament business.
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Odoi told them to leave but warned that they will be charged with contempt of committee of parliament under rule 211 of the rules of procedure.

Mbabazi in his letter thinks the committee doesn’t have the ability to come up with objective recommendations since most of its members were part of what happened.

The deputy chairperson of the committee Suzan Amero told URN that according to the letter, Mbabazi wants an independent committee selected in the house to be instituted to look into the matter.

The committee had earlier interacted with Kitgum woman MP Beatrice Anywar to share with them what she thinks of the chaos that broke out in the house.  Anywar told them for her she had just stood up to ask for the opportunity to speak from the speaker and that she doesn’t know why others had stood up.

On Tuesday, during the debate on the Petroleum Bill, Speaker Kadaga was forced to adjourn abruptly after MPs stood up shouting as the House was about to vote on the controversial Clause 9 of the Bill. The Clause gives powers to the minister of energy to among others licence and revoke licences of oil companies when he or she deems fit. Some MPs are arguing that such sweeping powers should not be put in the hands of an individual minister. They are pushing for the Petroleum Authority to perform such functions.