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73 MPs Sign Petition To Recall Parliament for Special Debate on Oil :: Uganda Radionetwork

73 MPs Sign Petition To Recall Parliament for Special Debate on Oil

a story from an interview with Katuntu and Sekikubo last evening at parliament on their petition to recall parliament

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Seventy three legislators had by Friday night appended their signatures to a petition seeking to  recall parliament to hold a special sitting of parliament to discuss the controversy dogging the oil sector in Uganda.

The lead petitioners are the Bugweri County MP, Abdu Katuntu and Theodore Sekikubo, the Lwemiyaga County MP. The two want the MPs recalled from their recess urgently.

The urgent desire by the two legislators and their colleagues who have so far signed, stems from a three-time failure by the Attorney General, Peter Nyombi, to appear before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee to explain details of various oil agreements signed committing Uganda to various companies involved in the country’s oil exploration.

The legislators are demanding up to nine different agreements that government has refused to make public.

But the most recent controversy of all the agreements is the 11.9 billion shillings the ministry of Justice wants to pay foreign lawyers representing Uganda in an arbitration case against Heritage Oil Uganda in London. The MPs are angry about the huge amounts of money demanded for the lawyers and why government chose to accept the arbitration to be done in London.

Parliament went on recess on Thursday after passing the 2011/2012 budget.

Constitutionally, a petition to the Speaker, signed by one third of the entire parliament, meaning 125 MPs, is enough to recall the MPs from their recess. 

By Friday evening, prominent MPs who had signed the petition included two army MPs Col. Phinehas Katirima and Major Sarah Mpamba, Isingiro County South MP, Alex Byarugaba, Kinkiizi East MP Chris Baryomunsi, Stephen Tashobya, Kajara country MP and several opposition legislators.

Sekikubo praised the NRM legislators who had already signed the petition, calling them the true patriots of Uganda. He said this was a by-partisan call to nationalism, love for one’s country and a show of allegiance to the country’s constitution.

He said he is interested in seeing that Uganda goes the path of successful African oil producing countries such as Botswana and Ghana. He said there is greater national and international concern that the oil curse had reached Uganda, with fears in the country that the oil, shrouded in secrecy, will cause turmoil instead of peace.

Katuntu hopes that by Monday the petition will be ready to hand over to the Speaker who would then be mandated to set a date to recall the legislators to debate the broad oil sector.   

The two say they want the broader issues of the Oil sector debated for the whole country to know; including the agreements, exploration, production sharing agreements, concessions with companies involved as well as rights for all the parties.

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