MPs Start Namuganza Censure Process

Members of Parliament have started the censure process against the Minister of State for Housing, Persis Namuganza on grounds of misconduct and misbehavior. The Clerk to Parliament, Adolf Mwesige has already received a motion for a resolution of parliament to censure the Minister and has since displayed the same on the notice board of parliament. 

Agago North MP, John Okot Amos moved the motion that is seconded by his Ntungamo Municipality counterpart, Yona Musinguzi. In his petition to the Clerk of parliament, Okot says that he intends to move a censure motion under Rule 109 (1) of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament against Namuganza for alleged misconduct and misbehavior.

“Persis Namuganza made statements about parliament in the media and on social media, attacking the operations of parliament, questioning the powers of parliament, the integrity of the presiding officers of parliament, and imputing improper motive to parliament and its presiding officers,” read the motion.

Okot says that Namuganza’s statements were derogatory and were found by parliament to amount to gross misconduct, misbehavior, and an affront to the dignity of parliament denigrating public trust and confidence in the authority and integrity of the office of Speaker, MPs, and the Institution.

“Now, therefore, be it resolved that parliament passes a vote of censure against Hon. Persis Namuganza, the State Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development (Housing) on grounds of misbehavior and misconduct,” reads Okot’s motion. Article 118 of the Constitution and Rule 109 of Parliament rules provide for a vote of censure.

Article 118 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 would require a total of 176 signatures for it to make it to the order paper.

Parliament would then debate the motion and take a vote. Yona Musinguzi, the seconder of the motion told URN that 78 MPs have already signed the motion, which has since been deposited at the office of the Sergeant-at-Arms. The MPs have been signing since Friday, December 9th, 2022 when the motion was pinned on the parliament notice board.

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 follows 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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