KAMPALA – Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has directed the Parliamentary Committee on Rules, Discipline and Privileges to investigate the conduct of the State Minister for Defense, Charles Okello Engola for disrespecting Parliament.
Kadaga made the directive after the Minister failed to table a formal statement as well as failed to respond questions raised by MPs on why the UPDF defied Parliament’s recommendation to have the UPDF Fisheries Unit withdrawn from the lakes over accusations of torture meted on members of the fishing communities.
The Minister of Defence was expected to present a statement on the status of the implementation of Parliamentary resolution to suspend all operations of the UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit on the water bodies in Uganda within a period of less than a month.
However, in total disregard of Parliament Rules that require Ministers to present written statements and have them submitted to MPs before the beginning of the plenary session, Engola was accused of undermining Parliament when he failed to provide MPs with to a written statement.
The Minister told Parliament that he was waiting the board of inquiry into the matter to produce a report of investigations and give parliament a detailed report on Tuesday next week, remarks that angered MPs.
Muyanja Ssenyongam (Mukono South) inquired from the Speaker why the Minister of Defence, Adolf Mwesige and his Deputy Okello Engola shouldn’t be censured over failing to produce two statements on harassing fishing community and another on UPDF officers torturing artisan miners.
This prompted the speaker to rule that both ministers appear before the rules committee to answer issues relating to contempt of Parliament.