Parliament Censures Lands Minister Namuganza
Members of Parliament on Monday overwhelmingly voted to censure Persis Princes Namuganza, the State Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
A total of 356 legislators out 529 in Parliament voted. Of the number, 348 voted in support meeting the threshold of 265 MPs needed to carry on the censure motion as provided for under Rule 109(13) of the Rule of Procedure and Article 118(1) of the Constitution.
Trouble for Namuganza started in May, 2022 after an ad-hoc Committee implicated her for unlawful involvement in the 142-acre Nakawa-Naguru Housing Estate land giveaway to some investors purportedly on the President’s directive for a satellite city.
The Minister walked out of the meeting convened by the ad-hoc Committee and later made public comments about Parliament that the House does not have the right to investigate her. She also questioned the integrity of the presiding officers.
But an investigation report of the seven-member Select Committee led by Mwine Mpaka Rwamirama, the Mbarara City South Member of Parliament which was appointed by the Deputy Speaker on January 6, 2022 found Namuganza culpable for transgressing against the House and its leadership.
Mpaka told the House that pieces of evidence that include copies of newspaper articles, video clips of interviews that aired on different televisions and equally streamed on YouTube Channel, pinned Namuganza for making statements that attacked the personality of the speaker and violated decorum of Parliament.
In response to the report, Nathan Byanyima, the Bukanga County MP supported adoption of the report saying Namuganza has time and again nurtured the culture of undermining authorities and should be stripped of her Ministerial position.
Jesca Ababiku, the Adjumani District Woman Representative, faulted Minister Namuganza for abusing the cause of women emancipation and therefore being censured would restore sanity in leadership and trust of the public.
Equally, Rose Obigah, the Terego District Woman Representative said once defiance and disobedience to the rule of law and the Rule of Procedure of Parliament goes unpunished, the practice is considered an indictment to the integrity House.
To West Budama North East County, Fox Odoi Oywelowo, the conduct of the Minister showed gross lack of respect to the appointing authority, institutional processes and her voters which are symbols of civilization.
Minister Namuganza, also the Bukono County MP in Namisindwa District has since denied any wrongdoing and declined to apologize to the public insisting that she is innocent. Instead, she accused Speaker Anita Among of seeking to show her power by pursuing a personal vendetta.
However, the five-hour long plenary session that started at 10:00 am to 3:40 pm finally concluded after Barnabas Tinkasimire, the Buyaga County lawmaker moved a motion, seconded by Asuman Basalirwa of Bugiri Municipality for the House to adopt the Committee report and vote.
The Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa reiterated that though Namuganza was informed and accorded opportunity to attend the plenary sitting and defend herself against the motion, she did not respond, which was an indictment on herself.
Those who abstained included; Florence Akiiki Asiimwe, the Masindi District Woman Representative, Busingye Peninah Kabingani (Elderly Representative), and Lee Denis Aguzu, the Maracha County MP.
Meanwhile, Loy Katali (Jinja District), Alioni Yorke Odria (Aringa South), and Moses Walyomu Muwanika (Kagoma County), and Buyende woman MP Mary Nakato Annet voted ‘NO’ to the motion.
All the Ministers were missing from the House. The Deputy Speaker is expected to transmit the resolution of Parliament to President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni within 24 hours for appropriate action.