Namuganza censure draws mixed reactions in Busoga

Left to Right: Central Busoga Diocese Bishop Patrick Wakula, Church of Uganda Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu, Ms Persis Namuganza and  Ivukula Archdeacon Can Wako during a fundraising ceremony at the minister’s home in Namutumba District on January 13. PHOTO/RONALD SEEBE.

What you need to know:

  • While some leaders and residents in Busoga have condemned the move by Parliament, others say the minister deserves it for undermining the integrity of the House.

Leaders and residents in Busoga Sub-region, from where embattled Minister Persis Namuganza hails, have expressed mixed reactions over her censure by Parliament.
A total of 348 legislators on Monday voted to censure Ms Namuganza, the junior Lands Minister who also doubles as Bukono County legislator, over allegations of indiscipline and undermining the integrity of the House. Five legislators voted against, while three abstained.

While some leaders and residents in Busoga have condemned the move by Parliament, others say the minister deserves it for undermining the integrity of the House.
Mr Ezra Gabula, the Iganga District chairperson, who is an NRM supporter, said losing Ms Namuganza as a minister affects Busoga’s development.
“President Museveni had rewarded the sub-region with this minister, but it’s a shame that the majority of MPs from the same area supported her impeachment yet residents always demand for more ministerial positions,” Mr Gabula said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Ms Proscovia Salamu Musumba, the vice president of the Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) in the eastern region, said Parliament is “losing focus” by hunting for personalities instead of putting much effort in issues affecting Ugandans such as ensuring that there are enough drugs in hospitals.
Mr Dan Menya, the National Unity Platform (NUP) coordinator for Bugweri District, urged voters to “wait for” those sidelining the sub-region in 2026.

He said: “MPs from Busoga would have protected one of their own because residents cannot fail to find a way of benefiting from her.”
Some NRM supporters in Bukono Constituency threatened to join the Opposition over Namuganza’s censure.
The chairperson of the NRM women’s league in Namutumba District, Ms Hellen Kyakuwaire, said the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) chairperson, President Museveni, has betrayed them for allowing the censure to go on.
 “It is time to start supporting the Opposition where our support will be recognised,” Ms Kyakuwaire said, adding: “As Bakono NRM leaders, our decision to leave NRM will not change. And no one will threaten us, NRM has been our party but our own members have betrayed us.” 

Mr Noah Nduga, the chairperson of Ivukula Town Council, said the minister has been at the forefront of mobilising votes for President Museveni in the past elections.
“We cannot sit back and watch. Bukono has lost a leader who has been influential. We are not happy as Bakono, the next step is to join the Opposition,” he said.
Mr Moses Kisame, the chairperson of Ivukula Sub-county, said Minister Namuganza has been following up on President Museveni’s promise to construct an irrigation plant in Ivukula but they are worried about its fate after the censure.

However, some residents of Bukono said the minister deserved the censure for her bad behaviour. 
Mr Peter Wambi, a resident of Ivukula Town Council, said Ms Namuganza showed her ugly side during her standoff with former Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga.
“She even abused and rubbished our Kyabazinga, Gubula Nadiope. She has done nothing for the years she has been in Parliament besides fighting her fellow Members of Parliament,” he said.
Mr Asokolito Ngobi,  a clan leader in Budiope, said  Ms Namuganza disrespected all other leaders except Mr Museveni.

“The censure of Namuganza is a good show for the NRM’s so-called blue-eyed persons who think they can only listen and respect one person, Museveni. Namuganza’s arrogance has been checked and she has met the real snake after always belittling Rebecca Kadaga and the Kyabazinga of Busoga. It serves her right,” Mr Ngobi said.
He added that Ms Namuganza became disrespectful to the Kyabazinga and doesn’t deserve any sympathy.

How Namuganza failed to stop censure motion

In a December 7 Parliament session chaired by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa, Ms Namuganza attempted to halt proceedings against her. We bring you excerpts of what transpired.

Namuganza: I would like to inform the House that I perused the report, which was tabled before this House, but I found that it contravenes or offends several constitutional provisions. Therefore, I have made a petition to the Constitutional Court No. 41 of 2022, challenging the actions, findings and conclusions of the committee report, which was tabled before this House.
 The Attorney General has already been served. We have been looking for Hon Rev Fr Onen to serve him since he is part of the petition. After this House, he will be served. Therefore, under Rule 73 of the Rules of Procedure, this matter is sub judice. I want to refer Members to rule 73(5). It reads “A Member shall not refer to any particular matter, which is sub judice”. That is the information I wanted to give the House… 

Tayebwa: …. Hon Namuganza – my sister and friend – I have been in the office since morning. I have not received any single Government official coming to me to talk about this issue today. We talked about it yesterday, but not today. Two, I announced yesterday and my office has been open – Members came to book and consult on matters of national importance but nothing has been brought to my attention, that you went to court. 
Also, you have made it very clear that you have not served Parliament; you served the Attorney General. Parliament is different from the Attorney General.  Rule 80 of the Rules of Procedure prohibits me and this House, to act in anticipation. So, for us to anticipate that there is a court order or someone has gone to court, would be against the Rules of Procedure. ... If you have served the Attorney General, you have not served Parliament.

The moment you serve Parliament, it will be brought to our attention and we shall know what to do next. Thirdly, honourable colleague, it is unfair for you to refer to a code of conduct and you behave contrary to it. (Applause) It is unfair….. So, I direct the Clerk to expunge the last submission off the record of Parliament. Let us proceed with the debate.
Namuganza: Procedure, Mr Speaker.
Tayebwa: I will again allow Hon Namuganza on procedure. ...
Namuganza: Mr Speaker, with that, the Attorney General, who, under our laws is allowed to be served - Before I proceed, I beg to lay on the table a copy of the petition. Mr Speaker, the rule is very clear and I want to read it again. It is Rule 73 of the Rules of Procedure; “73 Sub judice Rule 1. Subject to subrule (5) of this rule, a member shall not refer to any particular matter which is sub judice.” Once matters are in court, they are sub judice. Mr Speaker, I want to clearly put it that “referring” means even not to mention – (Interjections)
Tayebwa: ... Hon Namuganza; One, the same rule 73 you are reading, subrule (5) says: “The Speaker shall make a ruling as to whether a matter is sub judice or not before debate or investigations can continue.” I have made a ruling. (Applause) Two, Rule 87 of the Rules of Procedure says my ruling is final. If you are dissatisfied with it, you will challenge it with a motion. 
Three, this Parliament is not above the law and that is why you took us to court and lost. You took this Parliament to court to stop the investigations of the committee and court ruled in favour of Parliament. ... I would propose that we look at the merits and demerits of the debate. Hon. Katuntu, the chairperson of the Rules Committee, do you want to give guidance?
Abdu Katuntu: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Sometimes, it is very dangerous to read the rules halfway. It is true, as Hon Namuganza submits, that rule 73(1) says: “Subject to subrule (5) of this rule, a Member shall not refer to any particular matter which is subjudice.” I wish she had gone ahead to read the next subrule - let me read it for you. “73(2) A matter shall be considered subjudice if it refers to active criminal or civil proceedings and in the opinion of the Speaker –” I emphasise ’in the opinion of the Speaker’“ the discussion of such matter is likely to prejudice its fair determination.” Rule 73(1) alone does not define “sub judice”. If you want the definition of “sub judice”, go to subrule (2). Subrule (2) says it has to be “in the opinion of the Speaker”. 

If the Speaker is not aware of the content, how can he, therefore, determine that the matter you are raising is sub judice or not and will likely affect the fair determination of your petition? So, Hon. Namuganza, if you want to quote subrule (1), read subrule (2). That is the only rule that governs the ruling of the Speaker on whether the matter is sub judice or not. 
Tayebwa: Thank you. Honourable colleagues, why don’t we go to the debate? It is now settled. We are going to be repeating ourselves. I hereby open up the debate. ...

Extracted from  the Hansard

Compiled by Philip Wafula, Abubaker Kirunda, Ronald Seebe & Sam Caleb Opio