KAMPALA – The Secretary General of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Nandala Mafabi, has accused Speaker of Parliament Anita Among of meddling in the opposition party’s internal matters after she rejected the removal of Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda as the Chief Whip.
In a letter dated August 17, 2023, Mafabi (Budadiri West) informed the Speaker that FDC isn’t removing Ssemujju (Kira Municipality) from Parliament, but the party is rather relieving him of his duties as FDC Whip in Parliament and asked the FDC MPs aggrieved by this decision to petition the Party, instead of Parliament.
In her rejection of Ssemujju’s removal on Wednesday, Speaker Among said she had received a petition from some FDC MPs, who said the rightful party procedures were not followed.
But Mafabi said this is not the case.
“We refer to your letter dated 16th August 2023 and ours dated 16th August 2023 submitted to your Office with relevant documents. The following were among the documents submitted; The Minutes and Resolutions of the 169th and 195th Working Committee which appointed Hon Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda and Hon Yusuf Nsibambi respectively. ii. The FDC Party Constitution,” Mafabi wrote.
He added that FDC has a Working Committee of NEC under Article 22 of our Constitution which act as the Cabinet for the Party, hence he said the MPs who petitioned the speaker over Ssemujju’s removal petitioned a wrong office.
“It is unfortunate that none of those members who petitioned you are members of the Working Committee. In fact, they petitioned a wrong office. This petition was never served to the Party. We wish they had also provided you with the Party Constitution to show you what was violated,” Mafabi wrote.
He explained that the FDC Cabinet, which is the Working Committee of NEC under Article 22, appointed Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda on 26th May 2021, as Party Whip.
He said Hon Yusuf Nsibambi was appointed by 195th Working Committee of Monday 07th August 2023 under Min:3.07082023.
“Madam Speaker, these members misled you because the functions of the National Executive Committee, National Council or National Delegates Conference are clearly spelt out in the Party Constitution,” he added.
The FDC secretary general further explained that the National Executive Committee under Article 21 21(6) receives reports from the Working Committee. The reports are actions taken by the National Council which meets once a year and their functions are under 20(2).
“There Is nothing like to appoint the Whip or Parliamentary Officer holders. The National Delegates is under Article 23. They meet once every three years and their functions are under 23(3) and they only elect members of National Executive Committee (NEC) as provided under 23(3)(a),” he said.
“Madam Speaker, I am certain if you had asked for clarification from me as a Member of Parliament and Secretary General, I would have clarified. Your letter clearly shows that Parliament is meddling in internal Party operations which is against the Political Parties and Organizations Act as amended,” he added.
Mafabi said as FDC, they are not removing Hon Ssemujju as a Member of Parliament but rather removing him from the assignment they gave him as a Party.
“According to Section 61(1) of the Administration of Parliament Act as Amended a Party may appoint a Party Whip. Also according to the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of Uganda, Whips are appointed by Parties. i. Rule 15(1), Government Chief Whip is appointed by Government ii. Rule 15(4), Chief Opposition Whip Is appointed by the Party in Opposition to the Government with the greatest numerical strength iii. Rule 15(7), a party in Opposition may appoint its Party Whip The person who communicates the Whip appointment is the authorized person in the Party and in FDC, it happens to be the Secretary General (Article 28(4),” he explained.
“Madam Speaker, we followed the internal procedures, Party Constitution and Political Parties Organization Act as Amended. Members of Parliament are not the Party. We hope this provides clarity on the issues raised and we request that you are not misled by some members who use their privileged offices. Advise the petitioners to petition the Party or Court. There are no legal consequences to Parliament because Parliament is just informed of the appointment from the Party which does not require Parliamentary approval,” he added.