This Monday morning MPs (including those with well-stated old score and personal vendetta to settle) converged at Parliament to make their case against State Minister Parsis Namuganza who in the end got censured for disliking and criticizing the Speaker Anita Among.
A total of 348, out of the 356 who voted censured Namuganza who was only defended by 5 votes! Another 3 abstained with one rightly stating he was convinced the entire anti-Namuganza vote wouldn’t change a thing in the way NRM governs Uganda. Only 265 votes was required to effect the censure against Namuganza who is one of the very few in that Parliament or even Cabinet who have had guts to publicly criticize or stand up to Speaker Anita Among.
Namuganza was also faulted for giving her views criticizing an Adhoc Committee report which found her culpable for hiding behind the President’s name to influence the allocation of public land at Naguru at the time when she was the Minister of State for Lands deputizing Beti Kamya who currently is the IGG but was equally indicted in another Parliament of Uganda report authored by the now unwanted Joel Ssenyonyi.
Ironically, with exception of Kagoma’s Moses Walyomu, Namuganza had the entire Busoga Parliamentary Group voting against her. Easter Mbayo, the Woman MP Luuka district, surprised many when she voted against Namuganza. Not many expected this. Maurice Kibalya of Bugabula South, who is a blue eyed boy of Rebecca Kadaga with whom Namuganza is supposed to have reconciled recently, equally shocked many when he voted against her.
Some MPs openly gave personal reasons for voting against Namuganza including one who said she one time dragged him to Court and this was his chance to fight back. Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa tried to shut him up but it was too late as the legislator had already proclaimed his hate for Namuganza just like the elderly Nathan Byanyima who voted for censure simply because Namuganza one time refused his advice.
Tom Herbert Kinobere, who deputizes Hamson Obua as Government Chief Whip, gave away Namuganza even more when he said that the NRM Caucus, he co-chairs, is a place of the disciplined and that there is no way they can have a collective position defending the indisciplined Minister who Namuganza had distinguished herself to be.
Aringa South (in Yumbe) MP Alioni Yorke Odria, who is supposed to be a very strong ally of Anita Among having been together in FDC, controversially voted no and his vote was one of the few that were cast to save Namuganza who largely got crucified for exercising her expression rights (under Article 29 of the Constitution) to give her views on what she thinks about the quality of leadership and conduct of business at Parliament.
She was basically crucified for giving her views on the circumstances under which Mr. Moses Magogo got married to his woman sometime last year. And for also telling journalists in an interview that she considered Adhoc Committees unnecessary as they undermine the mandate of Standing Committees of Parliament (COSASE Chairman Joel Ssenyonyi made exactly the same point over the weekend during the Capital Gang). The other reason she was crucified was that she expressed herself telling media reporters that she perceived the Dan Kimosho-led Adhoc Committee on Naguru as biased and merely out to get her.
But the larger picture is that the Namuganza political fixing (which saw the opposition NUP and FDC largely concur with the NRM side as if Namuganza was Uganda’s biggest problem) could embolden MPs to begin baying for more political blood by going after more Museveni Ministers. Such could turn out to be among the unintended consequences. Indeed, Yona Musinguzi, one of the key protagonists in the anti-Namuganza war, thanked the President for keeping away and allowing Parliament to independently do its work without interference.
Musinguzi, who unsuccessfully moved against Monica Musenero who had committed even more glaring sins than Namuganza’s, said that the Monday events were indicative that many Ministers just use the President’s name to merely intimidate Parliament to get away with impropriety. Elijah Okupa agreed and made reference to the Naguru report over which Namuganza had to be punished. But the same Naguru matter had Joel Senyonyi‘s COSASE indict IGG Beti Kamya under whom Namuganza worked.
IMPLICATIONS 4 NUP:
The anti-Namuganza vote also spoke to the extent of rift inside Bobi Wine‘s NUP party even among those based at Parliament under LoP Mathias Mpuuga. Whereas Mpuuga personally was absent, many of NUP Caucus MPs perceived to be loyal and compliant as him voted against Namuganza which is exactly consistent with what his key ally Anita Among would like to see happen.
And those perceived to be more defiant, and therefore aligned to the Francis Zzaake defiant way of doing things, stayed away. These include Zzaake himself and Joel Ssenyonyi who might actually be Among’s next target for sanctioning through the Abdul Katuntu-led Rules & Privileges Committee.
NUP MPs whose absence was construed to be sympathy for Namuganza (while at the same time hurting her tormentors) included Joseph Gonzaga Sewungu, Charles Tebandeke, David Serukenya, Joel Ssenyonyi, Francis Zzaake, Stephen Serubula, Derrick Nyeko, Paul Nsubuga, Nkunyingi Muwadda, Muwanga Kivumbi, Betty Nambooze, Manjeri Kyebakutika, Aloysius Mukasa, Abubaker Kawalya, Francis Katabazi Katongole, Dr. Twaha Kagabo, Frank Kabuye, JB Nambeshe and Patrick Nsamba Oshabe.
Yet perceiving the anti-Namuganza vote as an opportunity to ‘fight corruption and accelerate the removal of the dictator’ as some of them (including Nakaseke Central’s Allan Mayanja) asserted, many Mpuuga loyalists turned up and cheerfully voted against Namuganza. Examples include Wakayima Nsereko, Veronica Nanyondo, Betty Ethel Naluyima, Christine Ndiwalana, Goreth Namugga, Aisha Kabanda, Medard Segona, Brenda Nabukenya, Hellen Nalimuli, Juliet Nakabuye Kakande and Hanifah Nabukera.
Others were Suzan Mugabi, Joyce Bagala, Allan Mayanja, Charles Matovu, Lwanga Jimmy, Geoffrey Lutaaya, Hillary Kiyaga, Abdullah Kiwanuka, Hassan Kirumira, Geoffrey Kayemba Solo, Bashir Kazibwe Mbaziira, Evans Ronald Kanyike, Michael Kakembo, Christine Kaaya Nakimwero and others.
The other remarkable thing about the Monday voting session (which major TV channels aired live for hours) is that all the Ministers were absent as was the case with Namuganza herself having made up her mind to keep away from much of the inquiries preceding the Monday vote. Even from the submissions some of the MPs made as they cast their vote (prompting Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa to protest & guide them), it was clear that a good number of pro-Speaker MPs would vote for the crucifixion of the Bukono County MP regardless of what she did or didn’t do and regardless of how well she defended herself.
The other remarkable thing about the Monday proceedings was that the entire FDC squad was out to crucify Parsis Namuganza ostensibly because the same would please their Najjanankumbi OG Anita Among. Whoever was present voted yes to censure save for a few like SG Nandala Mafabi who was absent from the Monday session which saw some absentees vote electronically via zoom.
The vote also exhibited the extent to which fellow MPs hate or resent Parsis Namuganza. It was shocking to see how fellow Busoga leaders voted against her without anticipating any political trouble from voters back home in Busoga. Bugiri’s Solomon Silwanyi, a key Among ally, had earlier on submitted that Namuganza’s censure was god for Busoga whose Kyabazinga she had previously insulted and incited mob violence against. And quite predictably, Asuman Basalirwa was very viscous in his anti-Namuganza submissions.
Aggrey Bagire, who was a fellow until not very long ago was a Minister along with Namuganza, equally fell in this pro-Among category. Nathan Byanyima and Banabas Tinkasimire corroborated equally the same point during the pre-vote debate during which not even one MP risked talk in defense of Namuganza yet even those who abstained are considered not safe enough.
How Namuganza could fail to do better among leaders or fellow MPs from Busoga is something political pundits will be pondering in the coming days. Namuganza was equally rejected overwhelmingly by MPs from Ankole, Bunyoro, the Greater East, Greater North and Kigezi.
During the pre-vote debate, Byanyima and Tinkasimire asserted that Namuganza was too arrogant and disrespectful implying she deserved censure. Cecilia Ogwal, who many thought would remain neutral to reflect her seniority, equally vehemently denounced Namuganza whose princess credentials one female MP from West Nile dramatically disputed. (For comments on this story, get back to us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734 & 0200900416 or email us at email@example.com).