Speaker Anita Among: NUP Has No Powers to Remove Mpuuga As A Commissioner

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Black letter law: The Speaker of Parliament Anita Annet Among has rejected a request by the National Unity Platform (NUP) to remove its Nyendo-Mukungwe Member of Parliament (MP) the erstwhile Leader of Opposition (LOP) Mathias Mpuuga as a commissioner of Parliament, further complicating an already complicated situation of internecine in the young political party.

Speaker Anita Among in an explanatory letter dated 25th March 2024 responded to NUP Secretary General Mr. David Lewis Rubongoya who wrote to the Speaker on 18th March 2024 communicating the party’s decision to recall Mr. Mpuuga from the Parliamentary Commission.

“ You will recall that on 22nd December 2023 I notified you of the Party’s decision to nominate Hon. Mathias Mpuuga as Commissioner of Parliament in accordance with Section 2 (2b) of the Administration of Parliament Act and Rule 11 (4) of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament.” Wrote Mr. Rubongoya.

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“ The Party has now decided to withdraw its nomination of Hon. Mathias Mpuuga and consequently recalled him from that position. Accordingly, the party hereby nominates Hon. Zaake Francis who was unconstitutionally removed from that position on 10th March 2022… Please note that if Hon. Mathias Mpuuga remains in the Parliamentary Commission as a Member, he will do so without the mandate of the Party and the opposition platform.”

According to Speaker Anita Among, political parties such as NUP do not have the legal mandate to recall MPs they have nominated to serve as commissioners of Parliament once they have been elected by the House as such because then they cease to serve political party interests to serve the interests of Parliament as a whole.

 

“ Parties lack the requisite legal mandate to recall a commissioner of Parliament once elected by Parliament. To do as you request would amount to fettering the authority vested in the House by the clear and unambiguous Section 5 of the Administration of Parliament Act resulting in undesirable legal consequences in line with the decision of the Constitutional Court in [the case] of Fox Odoi Oywelowo and James Akampumuza Versus Attorney General…” Your letter therefore and desire of the National Unity Platform, has no basis or foundation in law. I can therefore not implement it.” Speaker Anita Among said.

The underlying motivation in Mr. Rubongoya’s request is that a party nomination of an MP to serve as a commissioner of Parliament extends beyond nomination into the MP’s tenure on the commission, entitling the political party to recall the MP in case of a disagreement between the MP and the Party – as it is the case with Mr. Mathias Mpuuga who’s being accused of corruption and immorality by NUP.

Under Section 5 of the Administration of Parliament Act, a commissioner of Parliament can be removed from that office if he or she is unable to perform his or her duties as a result of infirmity of body or mind, misbehavior, misconduct, or incompetence  – NUP cites none of these grounds.

Besides, the removal of such a commissioner would have to be initiated within Parliament itself through a written notice to the Clerk of Parliament signed by at least one-third of all voting Members of Parliament.

NUP finds itself in a similar position as NRM did in 2013 when the latter sought to remove its so-called “Rebel MPs” from the House for disagreeing with the Party prompting then Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to create special seats for the said “rebel MPs” in the House – as they were neither NRM nor opposition or Independent, arguing that a Party cannot legally remove an MP from the House.

Faced with a belligerent Member who has refused to voluntarily resign from the Parliamentary Commission and apologize over allegations of corruption – at the behest of the Party leaders no less than Party President Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (“Bobi Wine”), NUP seems to be getting ever desperate and out of options on what it can do to tame Mr. Mpuuga who indicated on Tuesday morning at a Press Conference his intentions to cause further storm in the young party in the name of reforming and making it better suited as an alternative government to the ruling NRM.

“ The previous days have cast much doubt within the Ugandan populace as to whether our party is capable of handling the humongous task of liberation and effecting solutions to the political and social challenges our country is facing. We must regain public confidence, and trust and demonstrate that we are worthy of the people’s support in leading the charge for change and transformation that the Ugandan masses are yearning for…. I will in the coming days embark on a process of instituting internal Party reforms to make it a credible and competent Government in waiting.” Hon. Mathias Mpuuga said.


Benjamin Ahikiiriza is a Legal Writer And Digital Communications & Marketing Specialist majoring in Lawyers, Law Firms And the larger Legal Sector.

Benjamin currently Works as the Director of Content and Business Development At LegalReports.


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