State House has laughed off two opposition MPs who yesterday set off on what colleagues called “mission impossible” with their plan to begin impeachment proceedings against President Museveni next month.
The President was accused of committing economic crimes in contravention of the Constitution, but his spokesman, Mr Tamale Mirundi, suggested the whole thing is a joke.
“How?” he asked yesterday afternoon. “Those MPs who want to impeach the President are like a baby holding a sword; it cannot do anything with it. What’s the impeachment process? Why don’t they call for an election instead? Where will they get the required numbers? In fact, they are like a man who is impotent, he can stay with a woman, but he won’t get any child. The President cannot be scared by such empty threats.”
Mr Mirundi said “the Lukyamuzi group is playing politics of activism and not politics of achievement”. He suggested that they are using the President to divert attention from their failure to deliver in their constituencies.
“They are here shouting and doing nothing. They actually just want to think that Museveni would call them to give them money and keep quiet. But this will not happen. The President is not responsible for the current economic crisis and he has not been accused of any economic crime.”
Aruu MP Odonga Otto (FDC) and Rubaga South MP Ken Lukyamuzi (Conservative Party) had told a morning news conference at Parliament that they have 74 grounds upon which they will base their motion for removal of Mr Museveni.
Quoting Article 107 of the Constitution, Mr Lukyamuzi said the President can be removed from office if he has dishonestly done any act or omission which is prejudicial to the economy of Uganda.
“President Museveni is the one who ordered the Bank of Uganda to fraudulently print Shs2 trillion some two years ago, an act which has led to the state of inflation now at 27 per cent. That act is inimical to the economy of the country and it’s the President to blame for it,” Mr Lukyamuzi said without providing hard evidence to support the charge.
Mr Lukyamuzi added: “The impeachment proceedings begin next month with the collection of signatures amounting to one-third of all the members of Parliament eligible for voting.” Mr Otto said a team of six lawyers will draft their petition which will accompany the signatures before a formal motion is tabled in Parliament.
“We are giving President Museveni one month to resign or suffer the wrath of going through the impeachment process,” Mr Otto said.
“All his ministers are thieves and everything in government is rotting when he is looking. We have documented our evidence and when time comes Ugandans will hear more reasons why President Museveni must be impeached. Even if NRM MPs don’t sign, the opposition MPs will sign and whenever he travels to New York, they will ask him about the impeachment.”
But independent-minded and ruling party legislators led by Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko have vowed to block the motion. They warn that it will divert the fight against corruption which is gaining ground in Parliament.
“This is mission impossible,” Mr Nsereko said. “They are fighting a losing battle, they are just dreaming. Why can’t they wait for 2016 if they want to change leadership? President Museveni could have made mistakes here and there but impeaching him at this time will be going too far.”
Mr Nsereko said: “The people who want to impeach the President are going to make our fight against corruption elusive and they are going to help corrupt ministers escape.” Government spokesperson Mary Karooro Okurut said: “They don’t have any grounds to impeach the President.
They are engaging in wishful thinking.” MPs Otto and Lukyamuzi also alleged that President Museveni diverted £30 million (over Shs100 billion).
from a £70 million (about Shs259.6b) British government grant intended for recovery programmes in post-war northern Uganda in 2008 to the purchase of his presidential jet without parliamentary approval.
The lawmakers also want President Museveni to take responsibility for the withdrawal of $735 million (Shs1.7 trillion) from Bank of Uganda to buy fighter jets and other military hardware without prior parliamentary approval.
The two MPs further observed that key players in the contested payment of Shs142 billion to city businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba have said the President directed them to pay the businessman.
“That release was unconstitutional and is inimical to the economy of the country and President Museveni is the principal offender under that charge,” Mr Lukyamuzi said.
The plan to attempt to impeach Mr Museveni comes three days after former Prime Minister Kintu-Musoke warned that if he did not disband his Cabinet on account of widespread corruption in government, the opponents of misrule would target him next.