The report also never called for any action against Musenero other than asking that Preside be disbanded because it was operating illegally and that Musenero now being a minister should cease to be a senior presidential advisor on epidemics. “
This week, a parliamentary Select Committee set up by Speaker Anita Annet Among to investigate the Naguru-Nakawa land mis allocation saga recommended that President Yoweri Museveni force his Housing Minister Persis Namuganza to step aside to allow for her investigation in the dubious handling of the formerly condemned housing estate.
The committee in a report read by its chairperson, Kazo MP Dan Kimosho had discovered that Namuganza, then junior Lands minister was culpable for misleading the Uganda Land Commission -ULC into allocating land in the former Nakawa-Naguru state purporting that she was parroting directives of President Yoweri Museveni.
“A further review of the application data established that Hon. Persis Namuganza, then Minister of State for Lands, brought to the attention of ULC 'Presidential directives' for allocation of land to entities yet such presidential directives were not documented, traced or even availed to the committee. A case in point is a letter dated 24th January 2O2O, the Minister brought to the attention of Chairperson ULC entities and persons whom the President is purported to have issued directives for allocation of land...
The Committee noted that these 'Presidential Directives' were non-existent and Mr. Anil Damani denied ever writing the letter to the Minister and the signature appended to it,” the report of the committee reads in part.
The committee basing on the ruling of the court in case involving MP Fox Odoi and Severino Twinobusingye in which court ruled that parliament has no power to recommend the stepping down of Executive members. It urged the president to instead take the initiative to force her to step aside for her to be investigated without influencing the process.
But before this report was tabled before parliament last week, MPs continued to bay for the blood of the Science and Technology and Innovation minister Dr Monica Musenero. The speaker of parliament had on 10th November 2021 constituted a Select Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation to investigate allegations of irregularities reported on the receipt and utilization of funds for Covid-19 vaccine development by the Presidential Scientific Initiative on Epidemics-Preside under the supervision of Musenero who was then a Senior Presidential Advisor on Epidemics.
Musenero had been accused by Ntungamo municipality MP Yona Musinguzi of misappropriating over UGX 70billion advanced to Preside for Covid- vaccine development.
In a 146-page report, the MPs only found that Musenero’s Preside was only able to account for 2.024billion contrary to Musinguzi’s accusations. The report also never called for any action against Musenero other than asking that Preside be disbanded because it was operating illegally and that Musenero now being a minister should cease to be a senior presidential advisor on epidemics.
“The committee observed that despite the commitment by Preside in the MOU to account for all monies advanced by MoSTI-Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation and progress reports both financial and technical, Preside did not account to MoSTI for funds advanced to projects.
Several reminders were sent by the Permanent Secretary MoSTi to the Chairperson Preside to provide the accountability for funds disbursed, but all ln vain. The individual scientists eventually accounted for the funds disbursed, but not all were accounted for as was observed in the Auditor General's report on Covid- 19 funds,” the report notes.
Musenero in her response to the committee report said she was very thankful that she had been exonerated of the crime Musinguzi had accused her of.“I thank the Chairperson and Members of the Committee for a job well done," Musenero said in her statement to parliament this week. "It was a lengthy process, from which we have taken many lessons. We are wiser and much better than we were before this process. We are also relieved that the Committee did not find any misappropriation of funds because there was none. We trust under your leadership, Madam Speaker, this matter will now hopefully be put to rest, following the light that has been shed on the work that we did under Preside, and the lessons we take from this process.”
Nonetheless, despite of the committee’s lack of disciplinary recommendations against Musenero, Kimosho moved an amendment to the recommendation to have her step aside as she is being investigated. This particular recommendation also came on the heels of earlier efforts to collect signatures to have Musenero censured before the Inspector of government produces a report into the misuse of Preside money as ordered by the same parliament.
The question then arises, why are MPs harder on Musenero who a committee never found culpable and soft on Namuganza who another committee found liable for fabricati g non-existent presidential directives while defying the directives of the same president?
Speaking to Uganda Radio Network, Kimosho said there was no way he could recommend that Namuganza be censured because the rules don’t allow it. He offered to sign the censure motion is any MP were to bring it.
//Cue in…Court decided that...//
Cue out…a motion for censure,”//
Asked whether the President would move to implement the parliamentary recommendation to force his ministers to step aside, Kimosho said he is persuaded that the Executive is desirous about fighting corruption. He said if President Museveni was uncomfortable with the fight against graft, he would have done everything under the sun to stop parliament from carrying out these investigations.
//Cue in…that explains..//
Cue out… its own ministers,”//
Kimosho, a former journalist and spokesperson of the Joint Medical Stores, also said that Uganda should have hope in the 11th parliament that it is ready to crack the whip against anybody found guilty of misappropriating the taxpayers’ money.
//Cue in…for us we...//
Cue out…will be taken,”//
By the time of filing this story the two thirds signatures of all MPs needed to censure a minister were yet to be collected. It is yet to be seen whether in fact these MPs are able to pull off this feat. The last time MPs tried to censure a minister was earlier this year when particularly opposition MPs wanted the Security minister Jim Muhwezi to lose his job over claims that security forces were torturing Ugandans.
In 2012 two Ministers Syda Bbumba who was in charge of Gender Labour and Social Development and Khiddu Makubuya who was in charge of General duties resigned after it became clear that MPs were going to censure them over their role in the compensation of over UGX 142billion to city businessman Hassan Basajjabala after he was forced to give up city markets he had acquired under unclear circumstances.