By Mary Karugaba
MPs on the Parliamentary Committee on Defence were furious after Defence minister Crispus Kiyonga failed to turn up to explain a number of issues surrounding Uganda’s deployment in South Sudan
After waiting for the minister and other officials for over three hours, the MPs accused Kiyonga of undermining the committee and directed the Clerk to the committee to write a report to the House without his contribution.
Citing rule 197 of the parliamentary Rules of Procedures, the MPs said Kiyonga and his team should be held in contempt of Parliament and taken to the Rules committee for disciplinary action.
“The matters we are discussing are very serious as we are supposed to report back to the House. For the minister to fail to appear or even at least communicate is a serious issue. Under our rules, let’s hold him in contempt of Parliament and ask him to explain to the Rules of Committee,” MP Simon Mulongo proposed.
MPs Ibrahim Ssemuju and Muwanga Kivumbi although supported Mulongo’s proposal, they blamed the committee’s leadership of conniving with Defence officials to fail the committee’s work.
“The minister has failed to come because the leadership of this committee has compromised their stand on this matter. You have conspired with the officials to fail this investigation. I have no hope that this will be resolved,” Ssemujju said.
Kiyonga was scheduled to appear before MPs to give a status update on the plight of the Uganda’s troops in South Sudan, the budget implication of the operation,future of the deployment and whether there are changes in the status of forces agreement.
The committee deputy chairperson Peter Emmanuel Eriaku said efforts to contact the minister were futile as his phones were off.
“I have tried all means to reach the ministers, but I have failed. Their phones are off yet we agreed that we would meet today,” Eriaku said.
When New vision also tried to reach Kiyonga, his phone was off.
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Kiyonga snubs MPs on South Sudan deployment