The State Minister for Housing, Persis Namuganza on Wednesday walked out of the Rules Committee of Parliament in protest.
Namuganza had appeared before the rules committee together with witnesses regarding the ongoing investigation into the Minister’s alleged questioning of the integrity of Parliament.
In May, the Adhoc committee investigating the giveaway of Nakawa-Naguru land recommended that Namuganza steps aside for falsifying a presidential directive that led to the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) to allocate the land to a section of investors. But Namuganza reportedly questioned the treatment of investors and people who appear before parliamentary committees, equating it to a torture chamber.
A section of MPs led by Bukooli Central MP, Solomon Silwanyi accused Namuganza of ridiculing Parliament and its leadership over the findings. Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa then directed the committee to investigate the Minister.
Appearing before the committee for the second time, Namuganza maintained her stand of not making any response to the allegations against her. She informed the committee that she had petitioned the Speaker, Anita Among, and the Deputy Speaker in regard to unfair treatment by the committee.
She told the committee that any allegation against her should be backed by evidence in form of documents or recordings, which she would require prior to her formal response to the committee.
Namuganza said that she was waiting for the Speaker’s response to her petition before she makes any statement regarding the allegations against her.
Charles Onen, the Rules Committee Vice Chairperson said that the witnesses were expected to present evidence through their testimonies and that the Minister was free to cross-examine them. However, Namuganza insisted that evidence needed to be tabled first.
Bosco Okiror, the Usuk County also confirmed that no evidence had been provided to the committee but asked the Minister to first listen to submissions by the witness and that if no evidence is availed, it would be to her advantage.
But Namuganza walked out of the committee and accused the MPs of declining any submission from her lawyer and failure to follow procedures.
After the Minister’s walkout, four Members of Parliament who are witnesses in the matter made submissions to the committee.
Silwanyi, failed to present any evidence in regard to allegations that Namuganza had put the institution of Parliament in disrepute. Silwanyi said that the Minister had questioned the integrity of parliament through statements made in a WhatsApp group of Members of the Eleventh parliament.
However, Laura Kanusu, the National PWDs representative tasked Silwanyi with the particular rule of procedure that the Minister had violated.
Silwanyi sought more time to present the rules in breach to the committee. The committee then tasked Silwanyi to present evidence in regard to his allegations on Thursday.
Sarah Opendi, the Tororo Woman MP presented to the committee printouts of messages that the Minister allegedly posted in the Whatsapp group. Opendi said that actions and conduct by the Minister were contrary to those expected of MPs.
Elijah Okupa, the Kasilo County MP said that Namuganza should have sought better platforms to address her concerns than going to social media. His sentiments were also shared by, Maurice Kibalya, the Bugabula South MP who said the behavior of the Minister was wanting.
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