KAMPALA – Forum for Democratic Party Spokesman, Mr. Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda has described Uganda’s cabinet ministers as office messengers who are simply wasting tax-payers money and aren’t in a position to handle national matters.
Mr. Ssemujju said: “If you look at the budget of this House, tax-payers spend more than UGX1b to transact business and we can’t continue in this kind of casual way that you volunteer, cause some laughter and you sit down.”
Mr. Ssemujju’s concerns followed a procedural issue he raised during today’s’ plenary sitting where he questioned the absence of Ministers at the time Parliament was meant to receive ministerial policy statement ahead of the consideration of the budget but discovered that the Ministers of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Energy weren’t represented to oversee the tabling of their budget proposals.
“People are spending money to keep this parliament to do business on their behalf, if Government is unwilling, you can request the office of Speaker to adjourn maybe send it to recess. But every matter that is being raised, the ministers aren’t here, the ones who are volunteering are acting as office messengers,” remarked Mr. Ssemujju.
However, the minister in Charge of Karamoja Affairs, Mr. John Byabagambi protested Ssemujju’s concerns wondering if the Opposition Chief Whip was in order to insinuate that he had volunteered to take all messages on behalf of the Prime Minister; “Is the MP in order to insinuate that I can’t fit in the shoes of the Prime Minister as someone who falls under OPM office, I take the message to the top management where we sit and be deliberated on,” asked Mr. Byabagambi.
Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah ruled in favour of Ssemujju remarking; “If you are truly fitting in the shoes of the Prime Minister you would have answered the questions directly.”
Ssemujju celebrated his first win lashing out at the Executive for not having the courtesy to inform the office of the Speaker that the Ministers aren’t available, “Now he isn’t the one carrying the message but another State minister (David Bahati) and to appear the government side isn’t ready. We don’t know who the is the acting leader of government business the one who will be able to answer not to just act as an office messenger that can really answer questions.”
Mr. David Bahati, State Minister of Planning also put Mr. Ssemujju to order and blamed him for wasting Parliament business by raising useless issues yet there is an order paper, “I know Ssemujju is using this as a tactic to derail the house, raising issues of government, I am here as acting Government Chief Whip and I am responding to issues decisively, is he in order to create an impression that Government isn’t in the House. Is he in order to create an impression that we are gambling?” Mr. Ssemujju asked.
Mr. Oulanyah then dared Mr. Bahati who bragged about being the Acting Chief Whip to lay the ministerial policy statements of energy and mineral development, which test he failed and gave Mr. Ssemujju more bragging rights.
He then attacked Cabinet for wasting tax-payers money and advised them to ask for adjournment from Parliament if they aren’t ready to execute their duties.