People & Power
Censure move was bogus - Tumwebaze
Posted Sunday, January 12 2014 at 02:00
Pressure. Concerted efforts to censure Kampala Minister who doubles as Minister for Presidency Frank Tumwebaze over his role in the political squabbles at Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) flopped late last month after the MPs behind the move failed to raise the required 125 signatures. Sunday Monitor’s Yasiin Mugerwa caught up with Mr Tumwebaze.
1.What makes you think that there was no justification for a censure motion against you?
From the onset, I knew that their bogus censure motion was going to collapse because it was brought in bad faith and my brother Gerald Karuhanga and his other schemers knew it. This explains why they have miserably failed to raise the 125 signatures required for their motion to stand and move to the next level. For all the ten days they spent criss-crossing the corridors of Parliament convincing members to sign, they managed to get only 20.
Not even the majority of the entire opposition could be convinced to support them. Many Members of Parliament discerned their censure motion to be a cause without any merits and thus ignored them with all the contempt they deserved. I wish to thank the colleagues from both sides of the House for being objective enough and therefore refusing to buy into such illogical and cheap manoeuvres. These are just air suppliers and let them know that censure and other threats will not hinder me from doing my work.
2. But the MPs behind the censure motion insist that you are just lucky and that there was reason for your censure because you willfully violated the oath of allegiance/oath of office under Article 118 (1) (a) of the 1995 Constitution.
There was no cause for this censure motion because I did not violate any oath of office. In fact, it was inconceivable to seek to censure a minister for having done nothing else but his statutory duties. Statutory duties are given as compulsory orders to any officer by a law enacted by Parliament. In fact, the reverse would be true, if a minister fails to execute those statutory orders given to him or her by the law.
A censure in this case would be much more justified. Why then would I be censured for doing that which the KCCA Act tells me to do? That is why indeed the sponsors of the censure motion failed to justify any one ground for their move and instead resorted to going personal. All that, however, can never distract me from doing what I consider right and fair.
3. If indeed there was no justification for your censure as you say, then how would you explain claims by the architects of the motion that you were panicking to the extent that you had to beg the NRM Caucus to save you?
That’s not true. I cannot be intimidated by their mendacities, those claims are baseless. These are the same people who wanted to use the media to report falsely and help mobilise for their wrong agenda.
While Karuhanga and group out of shame tried to mislead the journalists at Parliament that the signatures had reached 40 on the second day of the motion so as to boost their non-starter campaign, many of the journalists refused to carry this false story and insisted on verifying with the clerk’s office. They indeed found out the truth that the signatures on that day were actually not 40 but were instead 11. What a shame to trade in deception?
4. Why do you think MPs wanted to censure you? Is it envy or something else? How about the accusations in the corridors of Parliament that you’re unpopular, arrogant, fortunate, powerful, unblemished and untouchable?
I really don’t know why my brothers wanted my blood. But even in the face of their perfidious schemes, I had no doubts in my mind right from the onset that this censure plot would eventually collapse.
I was at the same time wondering for how long we (as members and the leadership of Parliament) are going to continue allowing certain individuals seeking to gain cheap fame and prominence to use and also abuse platforms of the August House and the immunity that come along, to tear into pieces unfairly the reputation of others for their own personal gains?
Certainly this will have to be resisted, especially now that the majority of colleagues are beginning to discern and detest their motives.
5. Even though the censure motion collapsed, don’t you think you won the battle but not the war?
There is nothing like winning the battle and losing the war. A useless censure motion collapsed because the MPs were vending deception. For me, I thank colleagues who rejected their schemes and shamed these “air suppliers”. May have to reconsider our rules of procedure so as to insulate the legislature against such abuses.
Parliament belongs to us all and most importantly it belongs to the people of Uganda that elect us. They shouldn’t use it as a tool to fight and settle personal scores. I do not understand why of all, my young brother Karuhanga strives to build a name of being known not for anything else substantive, but rather for being a pure agent of deception in almost each and every crusade he champions? This same Karuhanga brought fake documents to Parliament and misled the House to debate and pass resolutions premised on wrong information.
Billions in taxpayers’ money were spent by the select committee of Parliament in investigating the same fake documents on oil bribes.
6. Without delving into the merits and demerits of the matters before court, looking back, do you regret anything?
I wish to unequivocally state, that I remain unshaken in my resolve to firmly and decisively do all that is lawful and which falls within my line of duty. I shall never be intimidated. Everything I did, I was following the KCCA Act. The issues of Kampala management should concern everybody who cares to think about how a capital city should look like.
I will continue to strongly support and join hands with the able management team at KCCA to work and bring about those changes all of you want and desire to see. The idea of continuing to admire what is foreign and yet doing little or nothing about our own God-given heritage is unacceptable.
Even with threats of censure and deaths targeting us as individuals and our families as has been the case, we shall not give up. The journey is on and no one will stop it.
7. Nairobi has continued to grow in an orderly and planned manner, almost non-stop. As Minister for Kampala, what plans do you have for the development of a city which looks like a modern day slum?
First, Kampala is not a modern day slum. These political squabbles have affected the development of our city. But a lot more is in store, especially as we plan to finalise designs and launch the construction of two long key fly-overs at Queen’s Tower and Kitgum House junctions to be financed by JICA. These will substantially transform Kampala and make life of the city users much better.
The city decongestion, however, cannot be complete without us launching a metro or city railway mass transport system, just like Nairobi has done by linking the city centre to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with fast trains. Just imagine taking only 15mins to Nairobi from the airport and beating off that chronic and traditional jam that forms acutely after midday to about midnight on the main airport highway to Nairobi city. If it can truly work for Nairobi why not for us in Kampala? We are on the move and we need every body’s support.