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Mbabazi, Onek Invitation Divides Oil Committee members

Members of the Adhoc committee investigating corruption allegations in the oil sector are sharply divided on whether or not to invite Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and Internal Affairs Minister Hillary Onek to appear before them next week.
Members of the Adhoc committee investigating corruption allegations in the oil sector are sharply divided on whether or not to invite Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and Internal Affairs Minister Hillary Onek to appear before them next week.

The committee has already invited Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa but three members are strongly opposed to suggestions by their Chairman Michael Werikhe to invite Mbabazi and Onek. Two opposition MPs on the committee, Hussein Kyanjo and Cecilia Ogwal, together with Matte Joseph, Bughendera County MP who is from ruling NRM argue that inviting Mbabazi and Onek who are accused of contempt of parliament on the same matter under investigations would be to legitimize their defiance of the parliamentary resolutions that demanded that they step aside.

 

The rest of the seven-member team are however of the view that the two ministers, having been named personally, have a constitutional right to appear and be heard by the committee. Zombo Woman MP, Grace Kwiyucwiny, Buhaguzi County MP, Julius Bigirwa and Kajara County MP, Stephen Tashobya, together with Chairman Werikhe, want both ministers to appear before the probe team.

On Monday, during a heated meeting, the seven MPs decided to refer the matter to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, for a final ruling and guidance. Sources within the committee who attended the Monday meeting said it was characterized by a lot of heated arguments which did not yield any positive decision. 

Yesterday, Werikhe confirmed that his team had failed to reach a consensus on the dilemma and said they were set to meet Kadaga on Thursday or Friday this week to determine the next course of action.  Werikhe said it would be unfair to bar the two ministers from being heard because the primary accusations were made against their persons saying they have a constitutional right to be heard.

According to its tentative schedule, the team will meet the movers of the Oil motion debate on Tuesday and Wednesday next week before meeting Kutesa on Thursday. The motion movers include Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo, Bugweri MP, Abdu Katuntu, Ndorwa East MP, Wilfred Niwagaba and Western Youth MP, Gerald Karuhanga.

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