State minister for Lands, Ms Persis Namuganza, Thursday refused to appear before as the ad-hoc committee investigating her alleged misconduct and contempt of Parliament.
The seven-member committee instituted by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa in a special plenary sitting last week, was given 15 days to investigate and reports back to the House, tentatively on January 24.
Following her absence, the committee clerk informed members that Ms Namuganza had been served and there was proof of receipt.
The committee chairperson, Mr Mwine Mpaka, (Mbarara City South MP) said the proceedings would go on with or without the minister’s appearance. He was, however, quick to note that the case is prima facie and therefore, the minister is innocent until proven otherwise after examining the evidence presented.
“Based on the clerk’s communication, the honourable minister was served, the reasons she has not come are still unknown but the committee will proceed ex-parte. She is supposed to attend tomorrow (Friday) as well to defend herself against whatever will be presented here,” Mr Mpaka said.
The Thursday proceedings kicked off with presentations from the mover of the censure motion, Mr Amos Okot (Agago North County) and the seconders Mr Dan Kimosho (Kazo County), Mr Gilbert Olanya (Kilak South) and Mr Yona Musinguzi (Ntungamo Municipality MP).
Mr Okot’s motion was premised on a report by the committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline, which recommended that Ms Namuganza be censured, a proposal that was upheld by the majority of the legislators in a plenary session last month.
While presenting the various clips, mostly media interviews and articles where Ms Namuganza is alleged to have put the House into disrepute, Mr Okot said censuring the minister would restore public confidence in the legislative arm of government and thus send a message to all other leaders to always adhere to the standards, behavior and conduct under House’s rules of procedure.
“Honourable Members, it is my firm belief that restoring the sanctity, independence and dignity of Parliament is a responsibility of all of us,” he said.
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