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Speaker Among trashes NUP’s decision to recall Mpuuga as Commissioner of Parliament

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Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among has trashed the National Unity Platform’s (NUP) decision to withdraw the nomination of Mathias Mpuuga and replace him with Francis Zaake.

Mpuuga is accused of engaging in acts of corruption and abuse of office when he reportedly, together with the NRM Parliamentary Commissioners irregularly allocated themselves Shs1.7 billion Service Awards in a meeting chaired by Speaker Among.

On March 18, 2024, NUP Secretary General Lewis Lubongoya petitioned the Speaker Among about the party’s decision to withdraw Mpuuga. The petition followed the National Executive Committee of NUP meeting which convened on March 15, 2024, to consider Mpuuga’s response to the accusations that he engaged in acts of corruption and abuse of office.

“Although he responded to NEC’s request to show cause why he should not be recalled from the Parliamentary Commission, he did not provide any satisfactory explanation for engaging in this grave action which goes against the mission, values and objectives of the Party. In particular, he did not make any attempt to respond to the specific accusations leveled against him” the party said.

“NEC has resolved to recall Mathias Mpuuga from the Parliamentary Commission on account of corruption, dishonesty and abuse of office, and to notify Parliament of the same. NEC further resolved to nominate Francis Zaake Butebi as Parliamentary Commissioner,” the party resolved.

In her response, Among said Parliamentary Commissioners are elected by Parliament. The role of parties under the law is limited to nominating candidates for election to the office of Commissioner of Parliament.

“Once elected by Parliament, the commissioners cease to serve individual party interests and serve Parliament as a whole. As such, they can only vacate the position or be removed therefrom in conformity with the law,” she said.

Section four of the Administration of Parliament Act states that a member of the Commission shall cease to hold office on vacating his or her seat in accordance with article 83 of the Constitution:

She said a member of the commission, other than the Speaker and the Leader of Government Business, may be removed from office by Parliament for inability to perform the functions of his or her office arising from infirmity of body or mind, misbehaviour, misconduct, or incompetence.

“The process of removal of a commissioner is by a motion for a resolution for removal of a commissioner initiated by a notice in writing to the Clerk to Parliament signed by not less than one-third of all the voting members of Parliament indicating their intention to remove the member. This means that with the total voting members of Parliament being 529 the notice should be supported by not less than 177 members of Parliament.” She said.

She stated that Mpuuga has neither vacated his seat as a member of Parliament nor has he been, upon a motion moved in strict compliance with the rules of procedure, found guilty by Parliament for inability to perform the functions of his office arising from infirmity of body or mind, misbehaviour, misconduct or incompetence.

Among noted that Political Parties lack the requisite legal mandate to recall a commissioner of Parliament once elected by Parliament. To do as you request would amount to fettering the authority vested in the House by the clear and unambiguous section 5 of the Administration of Parliament Act resulting in undesirable legal consequences. Your letter, therefore, and desire for the National Unity Platform, has no basis or foundation in law. I can therefore not implement it.

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