She insisted that her decision was a representation of what the people of Namutumba
Namutumba Woman MP Mariam Naigaga may have voted against the amendment of the mobile money tax bill knowing that she was representing the views of the electorate, but now she may have some more explaining to do to the NRM caucus.
According to the NRM caucus chairperson, Ruth Nankabirwa, Naigaga the caucus treasurer’s actions, contravened party rules and it is unacceptable to vote against the caucus agreed position.
Nankabirwa who described Naigaga’s action as “out of order’ said the Caucus committee will soon meet to decide her fate.
“I was shocked. Actually everybody was shocked by her action. As a member of the caucus executive, she should not have voted otherwise,” she told the media at Hotel Africana on Tuesday.
Rather, Nankabirwa argued that Naigaga should have officially written to the caucus explaining the difficulties involved in siding with the party position and then be advised to vote against the Bill.
“We have rules we follow. Some people are still behaving as if they were still in single party politics. This is why the number of independents is increasing in Parliament. Whoever is defeated in primaries, stands as an independent,” she said.
Nankabirwa insisted that to eliminate the problem of individualism that is slowly crippling the essence of multiparty politics, Naigaga will be summoned to explain her action before the caucus recommends for a disciplinary action.
“We should have summoned her earlier but the members immediately after the Bill went on recess. We shall meet when the members are back and also look at the actions of other members who also voted against party decision,” she emphasised.
Parliament last week amended the Excise Duty Act, 2014 to limit the taxable mobile money transactions to withdrawal and to reduce the duty payable from 1% to 0.5%. Once assented to by President Yoweri Museveni, government will implement 0.5% mobile money charge on all withdrawals, unlike the first unpopular amendment which levied 1% tax on all mobile money transactions.
A total of 164 MPs voted by roll-call and tally to support the tax on mobile money while 124 voted against Clause 2 of the Bill that proposed the levy. They are 463 MPs in Parliament meaning that 175 lawmakers were absent.
A day before the Bill returned to Parliament, Museveni met NRM MPs in a caucus meeting where they agreed on a common position on the mobile money tax.
Naigaga though said she was willing to face the disciplinary committee and give her side of the story, she insisted that her decision was a representation of what the people of Namutumba would have wanted her to do.
She argued that the position of the caucus does not mean the position of the Party.
“The NRM party is more than the caucus in Parliament. The NRM party begins with the people deep in the villages who are affected by these laws. Secondly, in the caucus not everyone is given the opportunity to give their views,” she argued.
She insisted that during the caucus meeting, the technocrats only gave the other side of the tax and not the likely effect on the population.