Namuganza Censorship: A New Precedent for Public Servants

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The State Minister for Lands, Persis Namuganza, was on Monday, January 23rd, censured by the parliament over misconduct and contempt of parliament during a plenary session chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa.

A total of 348 MPs, mostly from the ruling NRM party, voted to censure her; five MPs voted no, and only three abstained from the vote.

MP Mwine Mpaka, the chairperson for the committee on rules, privileges, and discipline, said the minister had insulted the leadership of Parliament by instituting an ad hoc committee to investigate her over the Naguru-Nakawa land allocations.

Mpaka emphasized that her censure by fellow NRM MPs and a few opposition members was not a personal issue but a precedent to cause respect for parliament and its leadership.

“To all lawmakers, the censure of Namuganza was to restore respect for parliament and to use her as an example that the legislature should be respected and that once summoned, it doesn’t matter which position you hold in government, you have to respect Parliament since it represents the views of Ugandans,” he noted.

MP Nathan Byanyima of Bukanga County said Namuganza has time and again nurtured the culture of undermining authorities and should be stripped of her ministerial position.

He adds that the reputation of parliament had previously been at stake due to the misconduct of some members, but this time they used legal means to cause discipline in the house.

John Okot Amos Agago, MP for North Vancouver, said Namuganza’s actions lowered the estimation of Parliament in the eyes of right-thinking members of society.

In the past, many ministers and heads of top government institutions and parastatals have been summoned before committees of parliament, and they have appeared and been grilled by the law makers.

Recently, the CEO of Uganda Airlines, Jenifer Bamuturaki, was grilled before COSASE.

Namuganza is the second legislator to be censured by the 11th Parliament. In March 2022, Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake was censured from being the Parliamentary Commissioner following a vote of no confidence by his colleagues after he was accused of misconduct, indiscipline, and others.

Parliament’s Roles;

The parliament has four constitutional roles, including;

Legislation: MPs debate and pass laws through which the institutions of government endeavor to guide the country’s development.

Representation: MPs represent their constituents’ views in Parliament and bring different matters of national concern to the attention of relevant ministers.

Budget approval: MPs analyze and approve the national budget for every financial year and approve loans.

Oversight: MPs monitor and bring to the attention of ministers and the public the misuse of government funds, violations of the rule of law, and unlawful activities.

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