At least five outspoken MPs from the ruling NRM risk being expelled from the party for criticising its chairman, President Museveni, and going against its positions in Parliament.
Daily Monitor has seen a copy of a November 30, 2012, letter from Government Chief Whip Justine Kasule Lumumba to the NRM Secretary-General, Mr Amama Mbabazi, forwarding the names of five MPs to the National Disciplinary Committee, accusing them of breaching the NRM code of conduct.
Those targeted include Mr Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), who was arrested by police on Monday night, in Kampala, over the critical comments he made on the death of Cerinah Nebanda.
Others are Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko, Mr Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga West), Mr Vincent Kyamadidi (Rwampara), and Mr Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East).
But in a quick rejoinder, Mr Niwagaba said: “The complaints against us are misconceived, and invalid, both in law and fact. I have received the letter from the chief whip and I have treated it with the utmost contempt it deserves and put it in the dustbin of Parliament.”
He added: “The party can dismiss us but to prosecute us based on what we have done in Parliament is a violation of the Constitution and the rights of MPs under Section 2 of Parliament (powers and privileges Act).”
The call is the latest showdown between the Executive and the Legislature. The NRM can dismiss the MPs but it has no powers to recall them from the House.
In the letter, Ms Lumumba outlined the particulars of alleged breaches and begged Mr Mbabazi to forward the complaints to the disciplinary committee for more investigation and action.
In response, Mr Tinkasiimire said: “This is a political witch-hunt. What wrong have I committed by fighting for the interests of Ugandans? Those people who want us expelled are the ones who should be dismissed.”
Mr Nsereko is accused of taking part in several radio talk shows where he reportedly denounced President Museveni and vowed to fight his re-election in 2016. The MP is also accused of “willfully and intentionally disseminating false and malicious allegations” that those who are not related to Mr Museveni, the people he allegedly referred to as “Kidomole”, will remain beggars.
Other accusations are that Mr Nsereko said the President is mismanaging the country’s affairs. The MP is also accused of having campaigned for the DP candidate for Bukoto South instead of the NRM’s Alintuma Nsambu.
Mr Ssekikubo, Mr Niwagaba, Mr Kyamadidi and Mr Tinkasiimire are the members of the parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas.
The group is accused of being used to further the interests of foreign powers to oppose the government position on oil.
And that on November 26, last year, Mr Ssekikubo and other NRM members of PFO protested the ruling of the Speaker on the Bill contrary to the Caucus decision to recommit Clause 9.
But Mr Kyamadidi said: “We are fighting for the interests of Ugandans and we have never been influenced by foreigners. They are free to dismiss us, but for Uganda to be saved, some of us must pay the price and we are ready.”
It is also alleged that on October 14, 2011, Mr Ssekikubo was quoted on Capital FM as saying that President Museveni is a “lawyer for the corrupt”. Mr Ssekikubo is also accused of disseminating malicious allegations and using the “wrong forum to address pertinent issues.”