There is bad blood between the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters and State Minister for lands, Persis Namuganza, who on Wednesday blasted the Commission saying it is useless and must be disbanded for allegedly wasting the taxpayers’ money.
Namuganza, who said she has in the past supported the commission repeated the same remarks Thursday morning on Bukedde Television, stating that it was wrong for its officials to question her on allegation that she is involved in land grabbing, arguing that being a Lands Minister, it would be wrong for her to associate with land grabbers yet the government was fighting them tooth and nail.
According to Namuganza, the commissioners, led by the chairperson, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire are fond of harassing the accused people that appear before them. Will the commissioners use Namuganza’s utterances to change their tactics? Namuganza is not the only one who has noticed the commissioners’ way of questioning, which sometimes has gone to the extent of barking at the accused. Other top officials that have clashed with the commission and accused it of same allegations are Minister of lands, betty Amongi, businessman Abid Alam among others.
Namuganza’s word must be taken seriously given her position as the lands minister especially when she says the commission nothing tangible to show despite being allocated billions of shillings as well as government extending their period of work.
That the minister can question the commission’s value for money, it means something is not right and maybe has some information on the matter. “They are paid Shs52 million a month each when me, a minister, I get only Shs6 million. Why do they waste people’s money?” She said on Wednesday.
President Museveni in May granted an 18-month extension to the commission to enable it complete its task. That was the second extension after the initial six-months-tenure expired on November 9, 2017. She said supported the commission to get that extension.
Namuganza is so frustrated that she has questioned whether the commissioners have contracts. “Where are the contracts they were given? They get a lot of money. Parliament summoned them last time and it was the Speaker [Rebecca Kadaga] who protected them,” she said.
The minister was on Wednesday grilled over Mubende land crisis in which she was accused of selecting a few purported landlords to meet President Museveni at State House with hope that he would order government to compensate them for the land it intends to give to sitting tenants.
The purported claimants included Blasio Musoke Lule and Ms Milly Naava Namutebi and other people. And they wanted claim for compensation of the land whose ownership is under investigation.
It is alleged that Namuganza helped by state minister for Kampala Benny Namugwanya Bugembe ( Woman MP for Mubende District) to mobilise and lead a few claimants of the disputed three square mile land in Butoroogo and Madudu Sub-counties, Mubende District to State House to meet Museveni.
Namuganza was on Wednesday pissed off particularly by the Deputy Lead Counsel to the Commission, John Bosco Suuza, who tasked her to explain her role in leading claimants to a State House meeting. She denied allegations that she connived with a one Milly Naava to evict 350 families in Mubende district.
She has accused the committee of fighting private wars instead of doing their work. She has accused them of noting doing their work as expected of them.
“They are fighting personal wars. They have no issue. They are just useless. Their motions won’t help Uganda,” she said on Wednesday.
Namuganza was so furious that she said the land commission has failed to account for the money allocated to it and that they were only save by Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga in April as legislators demanded for the accountability.
In April Members of Parliament (MPs) on the physical infrastructural committee of Parliament demanded for tangible results from the commission after it asked for more funds.
The MPs were angered by the Ministry of Land’s budget statement for 2018/2019 that included an allocation for the commission Shs7.8 billion in supplementary budget. At that time they demanded to know when the commission’s work would end, having spent Shs13 billion, without presenting a major report even though the presented to Museveni a preliminary report.
No that Minister Namuganza has spoken her mind, the public is waiting to see how President Museveni will respond. Will he disband the commission or sack Namuganza for blasting it? Will the lay down their tools unless Museveni disciplines Namuganza for blasting them? Those questions that must be answered