MPs convene for the third time today to decide the fate of former army chief Gen. Aronda Nyakairima.
By Mary Karugaba
KAMPALA - It is another battle day as MPs on the appointments committee convene for the third time today (Thursday) to decide the fate of former army chief Gen. Aronda Nyakairima.
The committee chaired by the Speaker of Parliament is expected to make a final ruling on whether Aronda should or should not be appointed minister of internal affairs without resigning from the army first.
The committee, according to sources, has summoned legal minds well knowledgeable with constitutional matters to help them reach the final decision.
Those expected to appear before the committee are the Attorney General, Uganda Law Society, retired Justice George Kanyihamba and Prof. Fredrick Ssempebwa, the main brain behind the current constitution.
Prof. Ssembebwa was the then-chairman of the constitutional review commission.
The Committee has also adopted a number of legal MPs to help them make a decision.
Sources said today's debate will mainly focus on the interpretation of article 208 (2), 111 (2), 112(2-3), 1(1-4) and 78(c) vis-a-vis section 99 of the UPDF Act which bars serving officers from getting involved in active politics.
Attorney General Peter Nyombi has already given his advice, saying there is no problem with Aronda being appointed minister while still serving in the army.
He pointed out that Aronda should not resign from the army since “he has not sought public office”. President Yoweri Museveni also insisted that Aronda should not resign his position in the army.
Nyombi’s advice has however raised a number of queries especially from opposition MPs who accuse him of being “insensitive” to the law.
Led by the Leader of Opposition Nandala Mafabi, the said legislators insisted that “politics is a preserve of civilians” and that approving Gen. Aronda would mean going against the law they have made.
Some members have proposed to the committee that in case divisions continue, and the appointments committee members fail to make a decision, the Speaker should use rule 160(2) of the Rules of Procedure to send the matter to the House for general debate.
Sources that attended the Monday vetting meeting said Aronda told the committee that his appointment was for the good of the people.
He had been advised that there is no law that bars him from being a minister at the sometime a serving officer, sources revealed.
"He was bombarded with a barrage of questions, most of them of constitutional nature but he failed to relate his answers to the constitution. Even his written answers could not help him," a source said.
His argument was also reportedly supported by deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah.
Members however are said to have attacked Oulanyah for "sweeping his legal knowledge under the carpet" and advising the committee otherwise.
"We almost went personal when I heard the deputy Speaker advising us otherwise. We told him off," a source that clashed with Oulanyah in the committee said.
MPs convene to decide Aronda’s fate