Education and sports minister Prof. Khiddu Makubuya puzzled Parliament yesterday when he failed to turn up to explain university students strike for living-out allowances.
Prime Minister Prof. Apollo Nsibambi earlier told Parliament that Makubuya could not be traced and that he had asked the Police to search for him.
Makubuya was expected at Parliament yesterday to deliver a statement on the recent strike at Makerere University and the on-going one at Makerere University business school over allowances.
However, sports state minister henry Okello Oryem stunned the house when he said Makubuya could not appear because he was besieged by striking students in his office.
This prompted Deputy Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to ask Nsibambi to deliver Makubuya within one hour.
After two hours without Makubuya, Aggrey Awori (Samia Bugwe South) asked Kadaga why Nsibambi, who was seated on the front bench, had not reported back with the education minister.
Nsibambi said he could not trace the minister either physically or on phone. â€œI was told he had left his office and I have not been able to get him on phone because it is off. I have asked the Inspector General of Police to help locate him, but for the last two hours he has failed.
â€œIf he does not appear, tomorrow I will call upon the Ministry of Internal Affairs to join in the search,â€ he said.
But Police chief Maj Gen Katumba Wamala late last evening said Makubuya was alive and safe and had not disappeared.
The bewildered MPs demanded to know whether Nsibambi was serious about his statement. Miria Matembe asked if Nsibambi knew the gravity of his statement.
â€œThe IGP and Internal Affairs would usually come in when the person is a criminal or has been kidnapped.â€
Nsibambi retorted that he was not illiterate to talk what he did not understand. â€œI have told this House that I have tried to get in touch with the minister and I have failed. I have cause to worry because he demanded to appear in this House and was accordingly put on order paper, but he canâ€™t come and I canâ€™t access him. That is why I informed the relevant authorities.â€
Makerere University government-sponsored students on Monday staged a strike, protesting the delay in payment of their allowances.
Their strike coincided with the installation of Nsibambi as the first non-head of state chancellor.
Makubuya absence puzzles Parliament