The Minister of State for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Persis Namuganza, has filed a petition before High Court challenging Parliament’s move to censure her.
In a plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa on Monday January 23, 2023, Namuganza was censured over derogatory remarks and disrespectful conduct. “…the matters raised in the interview [which Hon Namuganza gave to various media houses] was obnoxious, reckless, insufferable, beyond the pale and in per incuriam,” a Mwine Mpaka led Committee established.
In a tally of 356 votes, 348 voted to have the minister censured, five MPs voted no with three abstentions.
“Upon a vote of censure being passed against a Minister, the President shall, unless a Minister resigns his or her office, take appropriate action in the matter,” reads Article 118(2) of the Constitution.
Namuganza has since filed a High Court petition for judicial review before the President appends his signature.
She declined to appear and defend herself in both the committee and in the House, choosing to instead say the matter is before court and therefore sub-judice, a view repeated by her lawyers who sought to halt the proceedings on the same ground.
“An order of Certiorari doth issue quashing the findings and recommendations of the Select Committee of Parliament on the Motion for a resolution of Parliament to Pass a Vote of Censure against the Applicant and any resolution of Parliament based or arising from the same,” Namuganza seeks in a petition suing the Attorney General.
“An order of Certiorari doth issue quashing the resolution of Parliament censuring the Applicant from office of a Minister in the Government of Uganda.
“An order doth issue expunging the impugned report of the select committee on the motion for resolution of parliament to pass a vote of censure against the Applicant from the records of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.
“A permanent injunction doth issue stopping the Respondent and all its agents from executing the said resolution of Parliament and the report of the select committee to censure the Applicant.
“General damages be paid to the Applicant.
“Costs of the Application.
“Any other relief as court may deem fit.”
Censured ministers do not necessarily lose their seats, although the Constitution envisages that the minister against whom such a motion is carried resigns. Namuganza however retains her rightful seat in Parliament as the elected Bukono MP.