Deputy Speaker Cautions MPs On Public Statements Against Business Of Parliament
By Our Reporter
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa has warned legislators not to discuss information being disclosed or unearthed during Committees investigations before the final report is presented and adopted on the floor of the House.
In his communication at the start of this afternoon plenary sitting, Tayebwa expressed his dissatisfaction with the conduct of some of the Members of Parliament whom he said have been making comments about the ongoing probe on the operations of Uganda National Airlines.
The Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) is currently scrutinizing the Auditor General’s report for financial year 2020/21 on the operations of the national carrier.
However, the spotlight has been on the company’s chief executive officer, Jennifer Bamutaraki with the committee tearing into her academic qualifications having confessed that she does not possess her Bachelors Degree transcript since 1994 when she reportedly graduated from Makerere University.
Because of the ongoing wide coverage of the COSASE investigations, some legislators have reportedly made public statements against the process especially on the treatment of the Uganda Airlines boss.
Tayebwa guided that legislators who have issues with the way the Committees are conducting business and they are in anyway contravening Article 90 of the Constitution and Rule 208 of the Rules of Procedure, to instead of making public utterances, they should report to the leadership of the House.
“If you have an issue with the conduct of the committee, this House has leadership. I want to caution those interfering with how we are doing our work, calling and threatening the Committees. We shall not allow anything to interfere with our work,” Tayebwa guided.
He said that those who feel the Committees have made excesses in carrying out their works should not go to the media but instead report to the office of the Speaker or the relevant Party Whips. He added that legislators have a role to play in protecting the image of the August House.
“I urge you colleagues to protect the image of this Parliament and next time please don’t force us to invoke the Rules of Procedure. Colleagues even when you are in the committees, conduct business in a manner that protects the image of Parliament,” he said.
Bubulo East legislator, John Musila who had been quoted as accusing the COSASE of corruption, rose to apologise to the House after the Deputy Speaker had guided on the need for MPs to protect the image of the House.
Musila informed Parliament that he had appeared on talk show on one of the Television Stations in Kampala but insisted that his statements were misrepresented on the social media channels of the media house while translating it from Luganda to English.
“I stand on self confession. It is good that you have guided. I don’t question tion the integrity of this House where I am a member. I don’t question tion the integrity of COSASE. I had a program on NBS in Luganda and I don’t know whether what I said is what was put in English. I wish to stand here to apologize if they hurt the Committee and the MPs,” Musila said.
Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba also told his colleagues to always examine the provisions of Rule 216 (2) of the Rules of Procedure before going out to divulge details of evidence and documents that is adduced before the Committees of Parliament.
“It is important that when the matter is still under investigation, I would implore members to try and avoid going to the media,” said Niwagaba who is also the shadow Attorney General.
The Deputy Speaker then informed Parliament that together with Speaker Anita Among, they plan to meet the leadership of the Sectoral and Standing Committees to charter a way forward on how they will conduct their business without tainting the image of the Legislature.
On Monday, Pricilla Mirembe, the Board Chairperson of Uganda Airlines wrote to COSASE Chairman Joel Ssenyonyi requesting that the subsequent proceedings with the entity be closed to the press in order to limit the damage on the aviation industry.