MPs share mixed reactions on censure motion for parliamentary commissioners

Mr Mathias Mpuuga, Commissioner of Parliament. PHOTO/DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • The four Commissioners targeted in the censure motion are Mr Mpuuga, who received Shs500m, Ms Esther Afoyochan, Mr Solomon Silwanyi, and Ms Prossy Akampurira, who received Shs400m, each.

The motion to impeach four Commissioners of Parliament, including the former Leader of Opposition, Mr Mathias Mpuuga, has drawn mixed reactions from the legislators. 

At least 35 Members of Parliament had signed the motion by yesterday, while others are still tight-lipped, two days after a section of legislators launched it.

A section of legislators we spoke to confirmed to have signed the motion papers, arguing that there is an urgent need to restore the dignity of the August House, which has been turned into a corruption hub by some leaders, especially the backbench commissioners.

Forum for Democratic Change (FDC)’s Roland Kaginda, who represents Rukungiri Municipality, is among those who signed in favour of the motion. 

He argued: “This is very important because corruption is affecting service delivery. Look at our hospitals, they have no medicine. Roads are impassable because a few people are eating money on behalf of the others.” 

The Hoima Municipality legislator, Mr Patrick Isingoma, who is independent said his vote in favour of the censure motion is a step towards holding ourselves accountable.

“This Parliament is a very important institution and it is regarded as a beacon of hope and accountability for this country.  As MPs, we must protect it. That is why I have signed the censure motion to recall our commissioners,” Mr Isingoma said yesterday.

Mr Herbert Tayebwa, the Kashongi County MP and member of NRM,  said legislators should not stop impeaching the current commissioners but should also advocate for law amendments. He wants all Commissioners of Parliament elected by all the MPs as opposed to being nominated by political parties.

“I am in support of the motion because I have not known what these Commissioners have done for us as our representatives.  But since they are our representatives, we should also be allowed to elect them because they are acting on our behalf,” Mr Tayebwa said.

On Tuesday, a section of legislators led by Mr Theodore Ssekikubo, the Lwemiyaga County MP, launched a motion to impeach the four Commissioners of Parliament who shared Shs1.7b as service awards. 

In the ongoing campaign, the legislators are seeking to collect 177 signatures from their colleagues to enable them to table the drafted motion on the floor of Parliament.

The four Commissioners targeted in the censure motion are Mr Mpuuga, who received Shs500m, Ms Esther Afoyochan, Mr Solomon Silwanyi, and Ms Prossy Akampurira, who received Shs400m, each.

The commissioners accused of sharing Shs1.7b (L-R): Mathias Mpuuga (Nyendo – Mukungwe MP), Prossy Mbabazi Akampurira (Rubanda Woman MP), Esther Afoyochan (Zombo Woman MP) and Solomon Silwanyi (Bukooli Central MP). PHOTOS/ FILE/ COURTESY 

Mr Ssekikubo, who spent part of yesterday at the special table at the House’s reception area to lobby for signatures from his colleagues, said the process has started well and he is optimistic that the 177 needed signatures will be available by the end of next week.

“So far so good, just that most of our colleagues are in their constituencies because the House is in recess but we are receiving overwhelming support from them and they are ready to sign,” he said.

The Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LoP), Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, has commended the NRM counterparts for taking a lead in restoring sanity in Parliament. This Publication has also learnt that Mr Ssenyonyi is set to sign the motion today.

“I am glad that folks in the NRM have risen to the occasion and they must take the lead because they have three Commissioners. As shadow cabinet, we have condemned these service awards. I will append my signature and also urge all our colleagues to append their signatures,” Mr Ssenyonyi said.

However, some MPs are skeptical about the exact motives of the motion movers. They argue that this matter has been known for long and any person of goodwill would have raised the alarm initially when the matter became known to the public.

“Before I append my signature, I have to dig deep to determine whether these people are on a genuine cause or they are also looking for their deals,” Mr Noah Wanzala, the Nakasongola County MP, said.

Mr Bumali Mpindi, the MP representing People with Disabilities, also thinks the motion is not genuine. 
“The issue of the censure motion is not brought in good spirit because this is something that has been on for long. These (movers) must be cooking something. We are receiving information that a group sat somewhere and pleaded to Mr Ssekikubo to bring the motion. They are fighting their own battle and I wouldn’t want to enter into personal battles,” he said. 

“The first mistake was made by us when we allocated a huge budget to the Commission as a welfare without detailing what the money was going to do. Why didn’t we question this welfare money during the time of appropriation? I see no theft or corruption in this case,” Mr Mpindi added. 

But the Tororo District Woman MP, Ms Sarah Opendi, who is also one of the movers of the motion, has expressed concern that a section of legislators are plotting to interrupt the signature collection process. 

“We have reliable information that some people are planning to grab these lists. This matter has been reported to the Parliamentary Division Police Commander and action will be taken against anybody hoping to grab these lists,” she said.