KAMPALA-Hon. Persis Namuganza, the Minister of State for Lands, Housing and Urban Development (Housing), has differed with a House committee investigating her over allegations of undermining Parliament.
Namuganza said that she will only defend herself before the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline over the allegations of misconduct if given documentary evidence concerning what she is accused of.
“I, therefore, pray that the witnesses are ordered to produce and supply to me copies of documentary evidence of whatever nature they intend to rely on and this is a requirement of fair hearing,” she said.
The matter has it genesis from a report of the adhoc committee on the Nakawa-Naguru land giveaway that was unanimously adopted by Parliament on May 18, 2022.
The committee, in their report, recommended that Namuganza steps aside for falsifying a presidential directive that saw the Uganda Land Commission allocate the said land to a section of investors.
Parliament, Namuganza is reportedly to have said, is powerless and unable to censure her in relation to her involvement in the Naguru-Nakawa land allocations.
The minister, who was appearing before the committee on Wednesday, September 14, 2022 said that she had written to the Speaker about the issue and accused the committee of not following the right procedures, before requesting to excuse herself from the meeting in protest.
It is also alleged that the minister questioned the role and mandate of the adhoc committee set up by the Speaker to probe the Naguru-Nakawa land allocations through a social media post in the official WhatsApp group for members of the 11th Parliament.
Hon. Bosco Okiror said that indeed no evidence had yet been presented before the committee, but stated that if there is none ultimately, it will be to the advantage of the minister.
Although the vice-chairperson of the committee, Hon. Fr. Charles Onen, guided that the witnesses would present their evidence by way of testimony and that Namuganza can sit and listen, the minister rejected the method.
Four MPs including Hon. Sarah Opendi (NRM, Tororo district), Hon. Elijah Okupa (INDP., Kasilo), Hon. Solomon Silwany (NRM, Bukhooli Central) and Hon. Maurice Kibalya (NRM, Bugabula South) have testified before the committee in regards to the allegations against the minister.
Opendi presented printouts of messages allegedly questioning the role of the committee that Namuganza reportedly posted on a WhatsApp group of MPs of the 11th Parliament on 12 July 2022.
The minister, Hon. Okupa said, should have sought better platforms to address her concerns than going to social media.
Hon. Silwany was asked to adduce evidence that the minister had put the institution of Parliament in disrepute with her social media postings.