The minister of State for East African Community Affairs, Shem Bageine and Uganda''s representative to the regional assembly, Dora Byamukama, have been accused of plotting to censure Speaker, Margaret Zziwa.
By Joyce Namutebi
The minister of State for East African Community Affairs, Shem Bageine and Uganda's representative to the regional assembly, Dora Byamukama, have been accused of plotting to censure Speaker, Margaret Zziwa.
The accusations were made at a press conference Zziwa addressed in Kampala.
The press conference was also addressed by Uganda's representative to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), Susan Nakawuki, the chairperson of Buganda Parliamentary Caucus, Godfrey Kiwanda and the caucus treasurer, Deo Kiyingi, and Zziwa's lawyers, Dr. Kallu Kalumya and Jet Tumwebaze of Kampala Associated Advocates.
Nakawuki alleged that Bageine is "top censurer" of Zziwa. She claimed that the minister lobbied representatives from Tanzania who had removed signatures from the petition against Zziwa to reinstate them.
When contacted, Bageine described the allegations as "unfortunate concoctions and lies." "I have nothing to do with the censure motion and I am not involved in persuading people to censure her," he said.
He said that he tried to help Zziwa when the issue of censuring her first came up in August 2013. "I was able to stave off the censure motion and I advised her on how to handle the issues of EALA but she doesn't seem to have taken my advice seriously," Bageine said.
Last week, EALA suspended Zziwa for 21 days pending investigations into a motion calling for her removal from office over alleged incompetence and abuse of office. However, Zziwa insists that her suspension is illegal.
Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda told Parliament last week that Government would act on the matter on the basis of information from minister Bageine. But Bageine said that Uganda cannot direct the regional assembly on Zziwa's fate.
Nakawuki said that grounds in the censure motion leveled against Zziwa include banging the table, wearing high heeled shoes and showing off, giving trips to a few members, failure to negotiate MPs salary increment, influencing election of netball team captain and not allocating more days to plenary and committees. "We do not have any rule to suspend the speaker," she added.
Zziwa accused Byamukama who she defeated in the election race of planning her censure. She alleged that since 2012 when she became Speaker, Byamukama vowed to fight her. "She is at the forefront. She is draft person of the motion censuring me," Zziwa said. She said it was ironical that Byamukama is the chairperson of the legal committee which was told to investigate her. Dora could not be reached for comment.
Zziwa referred to the legal committee as a kangaroo court saying that there are no "rules of natural justice." She also named other Ugandan representatives, Dan Kidega, Chris Opoka, Bernard Mulengani and Nusura Tiperu as also being behind her troubles.
Other factors she cited include rivalry among organs of the Community, indiscipline among EALA members who dodge sittings and deny the assembly quorum, issues of finance, issue of procurement of uniforms for the netball team.
Zziwa said she is also being accused of having made comments that there was no genocide in Rwanda and refusing members of the regional committee to meet M23 DRC rebels.
She ruled out the possibility of resigning as EALA speaker and denied claims that her husband, Capt. Francis Babu makes decisions for her in the Assembly.
EALA Speaker ‘censured’ for wearing high heeled shoes