The Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) is planning to take its 15 MPs to court for refusing to pay their monthly remittances to the party.
According to party sources, the National Executive Committee and the National Council are stuck with the 15 “stubborn” MPs who have absconded from attending the party meetings and paying monthly fees to the FDC on whose ticket they were elected to Parliament.
The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Ms Betty Aol Ocan, confirmed that she had submitted the list of the MPs to the party’s National Council meeting on December 13 and asked the secretary general to take them to court.
“They (National Council) asked the secretary general to take these people to court because they have a contract with the party. When they used the party flag, they signed a commitment and so they are not following that commitment,” Ms Ocan said.
She, however, said as an individual, she favours dialogue with the MPs, adding that there is still time for them to correct their wrongs.
Mr Saulo Maate, the Kasese District FDC chairperson, and a member of the National Council, has already openly released names of the MPs whom he claims a decision was taken that they will not be handed FDC flags in the 2021 elections.
“Out of the 15 who have not respected the party through breach of contract, three are from Kasese. They are woman Member of Parliament Kasese District Winfred Kiiza, MP Busongora South Jackson Mbaju and Robert Centenary (Kasese Municipality). Those are among MPs that will not be allowed to be nominated on the FDC ticket,” Mr Maate told journalists last week.
The MPs are accused of refusing to attend party meetings and withdrawing their monthly remittance to the party.
Party MPs write to the Parliament accountant stating how much they want to contribute individually.
The accused include Ms Cecilia Ogwal (Dokolo Woman), Ms Angelline Ossege (Soroti Woman), Ms Lucy Akello (Amuru Woman), Ms Nabila Naggayi Ssempala (Kampala Woman), Mr Herbert Edmund Ariko (Soroti Municipality) and Mr Ibrahim Kasozi Biribawa (Makindye East).
Others are Mr Abdul Katuntu (Bugweri County), Odonga Otto (Aruu County), Prof Moris Ogenga Latigo (Agago North), Mr Elijah Okupa (Kasilo County), Mr Francis Gonahasa (Kagweri County) and Simon Peter Oyet (Nwoya County).
However, the party secretary general, Mr Nandala Mafabi, and the party spokesperson, Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, said they were not aware of any plan to sue the MPs or suspend them.
“I am not aware [of any decisions]. That is the chairman Kasese [not me],” Mr Mafabi said.
Mr Ssemujju said the party cannot deny any member nomination forms to participate in primary elections.
“We have never taken a decision to expel anyone from FDC. I sit in each and every organ of FDC and there has not been a discussion on expulsion of anyone. When the party calls for a primary, people will come and pick nomination forms,” he added.
What some of the accused mps say.
Jackson Mbaju, Busongora South
The FDC Constitution lays down qualifications for one to become a member of the party but it does not provide for how much a member will contribute. My purpose was intended to build party principles, including zero tolerance to corruption and when I saw that some of the leaders at headquarters connived to steal Shs57m from FDC account in Kasese, I ceased to contribute. I am ready to meet them in court.
Winfred Kiiza, Kasese Woman MP
When I was replaced as LoP, the talk at Najjanankumbi and by my Kasese chairman Saulo Maate was that I stole FDC member’s contribution. I am not a signatory to FDC accounts neither am I to the Kasese account. So, I decided to halt my monthly contribution until an audit is carried out to show how the members’ remittances that were mistakenly wired to Kasese by the Parliamentary account, disappeared from the account.
Cecilia Ogwal, Dokolo Woman MP. I have not seen that a letter that I have been sued if they mean it. But as far as remittance is concerned, we used to religiously deduct from our emoluments because the party was not being funded by the State then. Now, it is funded. We were also contributing to the buying of the property housing headquarters at Najjanankumbi and it was completed.
Angelline Osegge, Soroti Woman MP
Let them take whichever decision they want but if they take me to court, I will also sue them. I stopped remitting to the party because top people from headquarters came to Soroti and decampaigned me for supporting Gen [Mugisha] Muntu. So, why would I empower people who want me out? Was it a crime to support Gen Muntu? Where is the democracy in FDC then?
Robert Centenary, Kasese Municipality
We do not have a contract like that in FDC where I have been a member for a long time. Let them serve me with notices and attach those contracts.
However, whatever they decide will not destruct me from my commitment of serving the people of Kasese Municipality.