MPs move to force Mbabazi, Onek out

Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi

Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi

By MERCY NALUGO & YASIIN MUGERWA  (email the author)Posted  Thursday, October 27  2011 at  00:00 (www.monitor.co.ug)

In Summary

MPs draft motion as State House denies reports that the President has already suspended Premier.

A group of lawmakers have drafted a new motion seeking the suspension of ministers accused of allegedly accepting million-dollar bribes from oil companies from Parliament for contempt.

With the House leadership appearing to be shying away from enforcing one of its resolution compelling the ministers to step aside pending investigation, about 10 lawmakers now want to invoke the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure to have Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and Internal Affairs Minister Hilary Onek suspended.

Mr Mbabazi, who is also leader of government business in Parliament, along with Mr Onek is this time accused of failing to adhere to parliamentary resolutions. Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa, who was named in the same matter at the outset, is not included this time having stepped aside from the ministry over his ongoing prosecution for an unrelated allegation of corruption arising from a 2007 Chogm transaction.

Yesterday, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga met the MPs who put her on notice of their impending motion to be moved by Mr Gerald Karuhanga (Youth Western), the same MP who blew the whistle on the alleged bribery during the special Parliament meeting on oil two weeks ago.

“Now therefore; be it resolved by parliament as follows: Hon Mbabazi and Hon Onek be found liable for contempt of Parliament and suspended from the House until such time when the ad hoc committee reports to the House on the outcome of the investigations,” the motion, which is yet to be given to the Speaker, reads in part.

Three days ago, Ms Kadaga informed MPs that she has communicated the resolutions to President Museveni. But this revelation seems to have only inflamed those who believe that the Executive is interfering with the independence of Parliament.

The matter also remains unresolved on the back of the NRM parliamentary caucus’s recent agreement that the ad hoc committee should investigate the bribery allegations without the ministers stepping aside.

Yesterday, Mr Mbabazi’ status remained confused with sources, who attended the morning meeting with Ms Kadaga, saying information was shared suggesting that President Museveni has reportedly indicated that 3rd Deputy Premier Gen. Moses Ali, will be the acting leader of government business.

Daily Monitor could not independently verify this claim with the Speaker. Mr Mbabazi was not in the House yesterday leaving Gen. Ali to act in his position, though other sources said he was busy chairing the weekly Cabinet meeting.

At the meeting, Ms Kadaga is reported to have asked the MPs to stay their motion until the ad hoc committee which is due to be constituted today is put in place. But Mr Ssekikubo reportedly told her that the principle of separation of powers and arms of government must on all occasions be adhered to.

Mr Karuhanga told this newspaper that “there is no problem” with the Speaker’s request for a stay of execution. “In the course of the week we do hope our motion finds space on the order paper otherwise, we shall not be deterred,” he said.

State House has, however, denied that Mr Mbabazi has been set aside. “The President has said their documents were forged. Those MPs should know that you cannot dig a grave on a Fool’s Day advert. As far as my bosses are concerned Mbabazi is still the prime minister and the leader of government business. There is no letter to Kadaga appointing Gen. Moses Ali,” said Presidential Spokesperson Tamale Mirundi.

Meanwhile, Energy Minister Irene Muloni yesterday tabled 10 Production Sharing Agreements the government signed with foreign oil companies.

mnalugo@ug.nationmedia.com & ymugerwa@ug.nationmedia.com

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