By Moses Mulondo & Joyce Namutebi
KAMPALA - The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has given a one day ultimatum to Gen. David Sejusa to resume his duties in Parliament today (Wednesday) or lose his seat as army representative.
Kadaga said there were no grounds for her to grant Sejusa further leave after the previous one expired in August.
Sejusa is in self-imposed exile in the UK after he made statements about President Yoweri Museveni’s succession plans.
Communicating her decision on Tuesday in the plenary sitting, Kadaga explained that the four star General has overstayed in Britain, yet he was not on official duty of Parliament or his constituency, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).
“I am now constrained to invoke the powers of the Speaker under rule 101 (7) of the rules of procedure of Parliament. I hereby give you a warning for your continued absence from the House, and accordingly require you to attend the House at the next sitting of Parliament,” Kadaga said.
“In any event, my records now indicate that you have been absent from the House without the permission for more than 15 sittings of the House.
“I note that your continued absence from the House is in contravention of rule 101(6) of the rules of procedure of Parliament,” Kadaga said.
Rule 101 (6) states that, “Except with the permission of the Speaker, a member shall not absent himself or herself from 15 or more sittings of the House during any period when the House is continuously meeting”.
Gen. Sejusa first applied for leave on April 29, 2013, which was granted.
Three days after the expiry of his leave on May 24, Gen. Sejusa requested Kadaga for extension of his leave, which was granted.
After the expiry of the extended leave on August 16, Gen Sejusa, through his lawyers (Luzige, Lubega, Kavuma and Co. Advocates), again requested for three more months.
Considering that Gen. Sejusa was not on any Parliament offi cial duty, Kadaga said she contacted the Chief of Defence Forces, who also said as far as UPDF is concerned, Gen. Sejusa is not on offi cial duty.
“I, therefore, decline your request as you have not shown suffi cient cause justifying the extension of leave of absence from the House as required under rule 101 (2) of the rules of procedure of parliament,” Kadaga ruled.
Rule 101 (2) states that leave of absence may be given by the Speaker to any member who shows sufficient cause justifying his or her absence. Gen. Sejusa’s lawyer, Joseph Luzige said the Speaker’s ruling was unfair.
“Aware that Gen. Sejusa is in London, there is no way he can attend Parliament sitting today,” he stated.
Luzige said, “Article 83 (5) says if an MP is to lose his seat over absenteeism, he must first be given an opportunity to explain to a relevant committee why he has been away.