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Musenero Attack: Speaker Threatens Action Against MP Namanya

Dr. Monica Musenero, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation.

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The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among has promised to take action against the Rubabo County MP Naboth Namanya for having attacked the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Monica Musenero on Tuesday evening.

The development comes after a video that has since gone viral on social media platforms in which MP Namanya is seen verbally attacking Dr. Musenero as she addressed journalists outside at Parliament.

This was shortly after Dr. Musenero presented her response to the report by a Select Committee that investigated the utilization of funds meant to facilitate the COVID-19 vaccine development. 

The report presented last week to Parliament by Xavier Kyooma, the Chairperson of the Select Committee on Science, Technology, and Innovation said that the process of developing a vaccine was marred with irregularities despite observations that some progress has been made. 

The committee observed that poor financial management resulted in at least 2.06 billion Shillings not being accounted for under operational funds. Committee Chairperson Kyooma also cited another 491 million not accounted for and queried 1.4 billion for PRESIDE staff. This was also observed by the Auditor General, John Muwanga is his latest audit report.  

Dr. Musenero was a Presidential Advisor on Epidemics at the time funds were availed to scientists under  the Presidential Scientific Initiative on Epidemics (PRESIDE) for Covid-19 vaccine development. PRESIDE, is a brainchild of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, and investigations by parliament into the utilization of funds were sparked off by a complaint by Ntungamo Municipality MP Yona Musinguzi on mismanagement of money. 

However in her response to the committee findings, Dr. Musenero said that no funds were released directly to PRESIDE for COVID-19 vaccine research purposes. She says that research grants were instead released directly to the grantees and the processes were managed by the Ministry of Science and Technology.

It’s after her response on the floor that MP Namanya is captured on camera at the parliament parking lot, attacking Dr. Musenero while being interviewed by journalists.

“How can you connive with government to steal tax payer’s money? No, that one is not acceptable and we shall not allow that and even if parliament exonerates you…we shall keep following you,” Namanya partly tells Dr. Musenero in a video.

In the video converted here into audio, Dr. Musenero is seen smiling and looking on as Namanya insults her. Namanya later walked away and entered the Parliament building and Musenero continued with her interview.

//Cue in: “it is sad…

Cue out:…off the hook.”//

In response to this incident, Speaker Anita Among on Wednesday told a plenary sitting that the act was not going to be tolerated and she was to take action against MP Namanya.

“What we do in the House impacts on how people consider us outside. I strongly caution some of our colleagues…when we finish a debate in the House, let’s not go and attack our colleagues outside. It is very, very unfortunate,” said Among.

She noted that she had watched the video where the MP attacks Dr. Musenero at the parliament steps, describing it as dangerous.

//Cue in: “I watched a…

Cue out:…not at all.”//

The Speaker of parliament has powers under the Rules of Procedure to direct the House Rules, Discipline and Privileges Committee to investigate allegations of misconduct against some legislators. The committee is mandated to investigate complaints of contempt of parliament, breach of privileges and indiscipline among others. The Committee conducts investigations, compiles a report and makes recommendations to Parliament.

A case in point is an investigation conducted during the Tenth Parliament following allegations of threatening violence the Dokolo Woman MP, Cecilia Ogwal leveled against then Security Minister, Gen. Elly Tumwine. Ogwal petitioned parliament accusing Tumwine of drawing his gun on her while fuming and threatening to harm her. The committee investigated the allegations, presented its findings and recommendations to parliament.

According to the committee report that was debated and adopted by parliament, Tumwine was found guilty of breaching the parliamentary privileges. However, little is known about action taken against the former Minister after former Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said she needed to speak to Ogwal and Tumwine.    

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