176 MPs Sign Namuganza Censure Motion

Members of Parliament seeking to censure Minister of State for Housing, Persis Namuganza have achieved the required 176 signatures.

Last week Friday, Agago North MP, John Okot Amos, seconded by Ntungamo Municipality MP Yona Musinguzi wrote to the Clerk to Parliament expressing their intention to move a motion of censure against the Minister on grounds of misconduct and misbehavior.

This prompted the Clerk to Parliament, Adolf Mwesige to display the motion for a resolution of parliament to censure the Minister on the parliament notice board, a step that put into force the collection of signatures from MPs in support of the motion.

 Article 118 of the Constitution provides that Parliament may, by resolution supported by more than half of all members, pass a vote of Censure against a Minister on grounds of abuse of office, misconduct or misbehavior, physical or mental incapacity, mismanagement, or incompetence. 

“Upon a vote of Censure being passed against a Minister, the President shall, unless the Minister resigns his or her office, take appropriate action in the matter,” reads part of the Constitution. 

On the other hand, Parliament’s Rules of Procedure provides for the Vote of Censure Process against Ministers and requires any member desirous of moving this motion to notify the Clerk in writing of his or her intention, citing the ground for the proposed censure motion and giving detailed particulars supporting such grounds.

“The Clerk shall, within three days upon receipt of the notice of censure notify Parliament by causing the notice, the ground, and particulars supporting the ground of proposed censure motion to be pinned on the Members’ notice board. The Clerk shall on the date and time of pinning the notice of censure cause to be prepared and deposited with the Sergeant-at-Arms, for a period of ten working days, a list of all MPs with an open space against each name for purposes of appending signatures,” the rules read in part.

The rules require that any signature appended to the list shall not be withdrawn and after at least one-third of the MPs have appended their signatures in support of the proposed censure, the Sergeant-at-Arms shall forward the list to the Clerk. Out of the total 529 MPs in the 11th Parliament, the movers of the censure motion require a total of 176 signatures for it to make it to the order paper.

In an interview with URN, Chris Obore, the Parliament Director for Communication and Public Affairs said that the motion has already achieved the required 176 signatures but more MPs continue to express their support by appending their signatures.

“By yesterday, the mandatory number of 176 had been reached. Currently, the petitioners are still looking even for more signatures. The petitioners want as many signatures as they can mobilize. The final number will be communicated after the collection process closes,” says Obore.

He added that if the petitioners were only interested in the mandatory number, they would have submitted the collected signatures to the Clerk.

“They are still collecting. When they finish the process, we shall know how many signed. No step provided in the rules will be skipped as far as the process is concerned,” Obore adds.

According to the rules of procedure, the Clerk will receive a report from the Sergeant-at-Arms regarding the signatures collected and in turn report to the Speaker’s office. The Speaker will then cause the motion to be listed on the Order Paper for a Parliament debate and a final vote.

Parliament Okayed the proposed censure of Namuganza last week after MPs adopted a report by the Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee recommending the same. The report followed an inquiry into allegations of misconduct leveled against Namuganza, who also doubles as the Bukono County MP by his Bukooli Central counterpart, Solomon Silwany on July 13, 2022. 

Silwany accused Namuganza of using social media and television to criticize the operations of Parliament and questioning the powers and integrity of the presiding officers of Parliament to form Adhoc Committees. Her comments against parliament came after another report compiled by the Adhoc committee that investigated the giveaway of Nakawa-Naguru land, which recommended that Namuganza steps aside as Minister for falsifying a presidential directive that led to the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) to allocate the land to some investors.  

But Namuganza reportedly questioned the way investors and people who appear before parliamentary committees are handled, equating it to a torture chamber. In the subsequent probe, the committee found that statements by Namuganza were unfounded, baseless, malicious, demeaning, and contemptuous.

Charles Onen, the Rules Committee Vice Chairperson, said that Namuganza’s conduct and behavior are not befitting of a Member of Parliament, more so a Minister.

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