By Moses Mulondo & Moses Walubiri
KAMPALA - Parliament has thrown out Bubulo West MP Tony Nsubuga Kipoi after a vote on the report into his continued absence.
Kipoi has ceased to be a Member of Parliament under Article 83 (1)(d) of the Constitution which states that an MP loses his seat if he misses more than 15 parliamentary sittings without a convincing explanation.
The report by the standing committee of rules, privileges and discipline read by the chairman, Fox Odoi, was overwhelmingly supported by both the opposition and the NRM MPs.
Before the report was read on Tuesday, there was a debate on whether it would not be subjudice for Parliament to decide on the matter after the Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, had informed the House that he had received a petition from Kipoi’s lawyer, Mukasa Mbidde, stopping Parliament from proceeding since he had appealed in court.
Referring on the ruling Speaker Rebecca Kadaga made on November 20, 2013 when similar attempts were made to stop Parliament, Oulanyah ruled that it would not be sub judice as Article 83 gives Parliament powers to throw out an MP in particular circumstances.
The committee stated in its report that whereas it exercised all means to summon Kipoi, he failed to appear to defend himself.
Odoi gave an account of the various criminal acts Kipoi had been implicated in ranging from stealing, drug trafficking, treason and many other charges within Uganda and in other countries, something that angered so many Members of Parliament.
The report indicated that neither his Mbidde nor his witness Geoffrey Ekanya gave a convincing explanation to the committee.
Mbidde had informed the committee that contrary to reports that Kipoi had been detained by the Kinshasa government over rebel links; his client went to Congo on recommendation of the South African doctors to see a Belgian specialist attending to him. MPs strongly objected to Mbidde’s claim.
Parliament also heard that Kipoi holds two Ugandan passports and a South African one.
Tasked to explain why Uganda has not requested Congo to hand over Kipoi, defence minister Crispus Kiyonga said: “Our government requested the Congo government to hand him over but they have not yet responded. I don’t want to go into details of the diplomatic relations with that country.”
Kipoi becomes the second MP after runaway Gen. David Sejusa to be thrown out of Parliament over similar circumstances of missing more than 15 sittings of Parliament. Sejusa is in self-exile in UK.