Opposition censure motion against Muhwezi collapses

Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi

What you need to know:

  • The motion followed a previous move made by Opposition legislators on February 3 to boycott plenary sittings until the government made a statement on the torture incidents in the country.

A motion seeking to censure the Security minister, Gen Jim Muhwezi, has collapsed following the failure of Opposition lawmakers to collect the required 176 signatures.

By the close of business yesterday, the Opposition had only managed to collect 88 signatures from various legislators, Mr Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, notified journalists.

“We have not mastered the required signatures which would have been 176, and therefore, it makes the censure motion proceedings not available to us,” Mr Mpuuga said.

“I would like to congratulate the members who were able to summon the courage to show solidarity with Ugandans whose rights have been variously abused,” he added.

The Opposition members began collecting signatures on February 10 and according to the Rules of Procedure, if within 10 (working) days referred to in sub rule (5), less than one third of members have appended their signatures on the same, the notice shall lapse. The date of lapse was yesterday.

Gen Muhwezi was accused of staying silent as security operatives torture Ugandans.

The motion followed a previous move made by Opposition legislators on February 3 to boycott plenary sittings until the government made a statement on the torture incidents in the country.

According to Mr Mpuuga, only 87 per cent of Opposition members were able to sign.

There are 529 legislators in Parliament. The National Resistance Movement (NRM) party has 336 MPs, 109 legislators are from the Opposition, while 84 are Independents.

“The rest that did not sign from the Opposition, I cannot explain it. We did appeal to the rest of the (members in the) House because we believe the matter didn’t house any partisan banter. It was a national matter,” Mr Mpuuga said.

Kira Municipality legislator Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said even if they had succeeded in getting the required signatures, the process would not have ended human rights violations and torture on Ugandans.

“So even (if) we had succeeded (to get signatures), that in itself would not end torture. We shall continue with other forms, including going to the floor of Parliament,” Mr Ssemujju said.

“So Jim Muhwezi should not go out and celebrate. Internally, we will go and ask ourselves after doing an audit on who signed and who didn’t and why. I am only surprised that some of my colleagues in the Opposition didn’t sign,” Mr Ssemujju added.

Following the development, Mr Thomas Tayebwa, the Government Chief Whip, tweeted to thank the NRM parliamentary caucus for being united on the matter.

“Despite the dedicated mobilisation, by final day the Opposition managed to raise only 88 signatures against the censure of comrade @jkmuhwezi. No single signature from NRMOnline. Over 20 opposition MPs refused to sign,” part of Mr Tayebwa’s tweet read.

Gen Muhwezi on Wednesday told journalists that the motion was misdirected since there are a number of ministries mandated to address the acts of torture.

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