Wednesday January 17 2018

NRM to write to anti-age limit removal MPs

Expected to explain: NRM MPs Theodore Ssekikubo

Expected to explain: NRM MPs Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), Gaffa Mbwatekamwa (Kasambya), Patrick Nsamba (Kassanda North) and Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga West) at Parliament on their way to the party Caucus recently. PHOTO BY ALEX ESAGALA 

By Nelson Wesonga

KAMPALA. The ruling NRM party will write to its Members of Parliament who voted against the removal of age limit for presidential candidates to explain their decision.
During an NRM Parliamentary Caucus yesterday, it emerged that the 27 MPs, who sided with the Opposition to reject the amendment of the Constitution, would know whether they will appear before the party disciplinary committee or not.

This was revealed by the NRM Chief Whip, Ms Ruth Nankabirwa.
“Some people thought we are going to be punished today,” Ms Sylvia Rwabwogo, the Kabarole Woman MP, told journalists yesterday after attending the NRM caucus.

“The Government Chief Whip said she is going to write to us officially because we did not write to her (our positions) officially – as the rules of procedure require us to,” Ms Rwabwogo said.
She said as MPs, everyone was released by party and Parliament to consult their constituencies so as to inform their decision when the age limit Bill would come for voting.

“Unless they want to punish me for saying what the people said, then maybe they (NRM) should be punished for sending us to gather information they were not interested in listening to,” Ms Rwabwogo said.

Mr Robert Migadde (Buvuma Islands) said he would not appear before the party’s disciplinary committee if a decision is taken that they appear and submit a written explanation.

Denies wrongdoing
“I might take it [explaining yourself] that you did something wrong. I did not do anything wrong,” Mr Migadde said.

Ms Nankabirwa was not available to comment about the decision to write to the MPs.
Whereas Section 9 (1) (d) of the party’s constitution allows members to offer constructive criticism, Section 9 (1) (g) requires them to be loyal to the decisions of the majority of the party.
However, the party constitution provisions are subordinate to the 1995 Constitution, which provides for freedoms.

President Museveni signed the Bill into law on December 27.
Some of the other NRM MPs who voted against the removal of the Bill are: Hellen Kahunde (Kiryandongo), Connie Galiwango (Mbale), Norah Bigirwa (Buliisa) and Anthony Ssemuli (Mubende).

Kasaija on the spot
Loan queries: The NRM caucus also discussed the Public Accounts committee July 2017 report that recommended the censure of Finance minister Matia Kasaija for misleading the House to believe that the most critical funding objective of the PTA loan Uganda acquired in 2017 was medical supplies. What a whistle-blower called ‘missing funds for the procurement of medicines under the National Medical Stores loan sourced from the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank) to fund foreign exchange expenditure requirements.

The State Minister for Planning, Mr David Bahati, who attended the Caucus said Committee: Ms Nakanbirwa would constitute a committee to look into the matter. During the same meeting, Mr Kasaija reportedly said the borrowed funds were put in the Consolidated Fund. The report has since recommended the censure of Mr Kasaija and dismissal of Mr Keith Muhakanizi, the Secretary to Treasury. However, Mr Muhanizi yesterday said: “Those who thought I’m about to be sacked over the PTA loan are jokers. I am here for some time.”