How Namuganza got mired in Nakawa-Naguru land mess

State Minister for Lands, Ms Persis Namuganza during plenary session at Parliament on December 7, 2022. PHOTO | DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • Ms Namuganza has been found guilty of overstepping her powers in directing the giveaway of the land.

Ms Persis Namuganza, the State minister for Housing, has been in the eye of the storm for the better part of this year, following her battle with a section of legislators at Parliament who are backing a censure motion against her. 
As of December 23, 259 Members of Parliament (MPs) out of more than 500 with voting rights had signed the petition to have the Junior minister censured. Mr Amos Okot (Agago North) was the mover of the censure motion.

Ms Namuganza (Bukono County) has been accused of going to social media and other media channels to undermine the operations of Parliament and questioning the powers and integrity of the House’s Adhoc Committee, which faulted her for unlawfully manipulating the allocation of plots on the Nakawa-Naguru land.
Legislators during a parliamentary sitting on December 23 had been expected to vote on the matter until Mr Thomas Tayebwa, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, ruled that they had to first write to the President as per the Constitution.

According to Parliament’s Rule of Procedure 109 (8), the petition of censure, having been moved, the Speaker shall forward the text of the motion and the supporting documents to the President within 72 hours for onward transmission of the same to the concerned minister. 
Fourteen days from the date of transmission of the motion to the President, Parliament’s Rules of Procedure add that the Speaker shall then cause to be appointed a select committee to which the motion shall be referred.
With the minister’s fate still undecided, one wonders how the walls came tumbling down on the Junior minister in the first place.

Namuganza’s troubles
Ms Namuganza has previously blamed some of  her troubles on Speaker Anita Among whom she accuses of initiating her downfall after her husband [then serving as a town clerk] withdrew the registration of the [Speaker’s] marriage with Mr Moses Magogo (Budiope East).
After the incident, Ms Namuganza claimed her family was used to participate in an illegal marriage. The minister later reached out to marriage lawyers to help resolve the matter.

Sources, who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, said the Speaker’s issue was a minor one, “a drop in the ocean,” as her troubles spilled over during the Nakawa-Naguru land scandal.
In May, the House adopted the Ad hoc Committee’s recommendation seeking to hold the minister accountable for allegedly unlawfully manipulating the allocation of plots on the Nakawa-Naguru land.  The Ad hoc Committee found Ms Namuganza guilty of overstepping her powers in directing the giveaway of the land by Uganda Land Commission to different individuals and companies, which they say was done without following the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) Act.

Later, legislators accused her of attacking the operations of the same Ad hoc Committee and the general institution of Parliament, an incident which saw her referred to the House’s Committee on Rules, Privileges, and Discipline and in November also recommended for her censure.

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The ghosts of the Nakawa-Naguru land saga seemed to have, however, been following the minister as seen in a November 23 letter authored by Ms Robinah Nabbanja, the prime minister, summoning Ms Namuganza, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng (Health minister), Mr Kiryowa Kiwanuka (Attorney General) and Ms Minsa Kabanda (the Minister for Kampala) for a meeting to discuss the presidential directive on allocation of land to Ms Mediheal Group of Hospitals in Nairobi.

“His Excellency directed that 7 (seven) acres of land in the Nakawa-Naguru Estate be allocated to Mediheal Group of Hospitals for construction of one hospital in Kampala, with expectations of expanding to other parts of [the] country. I have noted that this has never been implemented,” Ms Nabbanja added. 
 Against this backdrop, the team was invited for a closed door meeting on Friday, November 25, at the Office of the Prime Minister to discuss the matter.
Though the outcomes from the meeting were not publicly disclosed, sources say one of the intentions was to put Ms Namuganza and the rest on the spot on why the President’s directive was not implemented.

Ms Namuganza in recent days has put up a fight defending herself in various sections of the media. She said she was not afraid because Parliament has not yet availed her the evidence showing her undermining its work.
She was not available for comment yesterday to answer a question on her next course of action following Parliament’s latest ruling. Some legislators believe that the Namuganza issue would not have spiralled to this height if she had apologised for the wrongdoings she is being accused of.