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Mpuuga out, Zaake in as parliamentary commissioner

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Francis Zaake new parliamentary commissioner

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | National Unity Platform- NUP has resolved to drop Nyendo-Mukungwe MP Mathias Mpuuga and replace him with Francis Zaake as Commissioner of Parliament.

Nyendo-Mukungwe MP, Mathias Mpuuga may lose his position on the Parliamentary Commission. The National Unity Platform’s National Executive Committee on Friday said it had resolved to replace Mpuuga with Mityana MP, Francis Zaake.

The decision to kick Mpuuga out of the Commission came a few hours after the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among blocked debate about claims of corruption and abuse of office at Parliament. Among said she will not run the August House on rumors.

It is not clear whether her administration will let Mpuuga out of the Parliamentary Commission based on a recommendation by the NUP Executive Committee to allow Francis Zaake to resume the position.

Mpuuga, who was in December 2023 dropped as the leader of the opposition is accused of having taken 500 million shillings as a “Service Award” from the Parliamentary Commission.

The Robert Kyagulanyi-led National Executive Committee however claimed that Mpuuga who is currently serving as one of the Parliamentary Commissioners was bribed by Anita Among.  Kyagulanyi is however out of the country.

The “service award” was allegedly part of the 1.7 billion shillings that was irregularly allocated to Parliamentary Commissioners who included three back-bench MPS from the ruling NRM Party.  Each of the three Commissioners from the NRM reportedly received 400 million shillings.

In a statement signed by the Acting Party President, Dr. Lina Zedriga Waru, the party resolved to recall Mpuuga from the Commission after he allegedly failed to provide any satisfactory explanation of why he should not be recalled after allegedly engaging in the irregular allocation.

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“The National Executive Committee of the National Unity Platform sat today to consider the response by Hon. Mathias Mpuuga to the accusation that he engaged in acts of corruption and abuse of office when he together with NRM Parliamentary Commissioners irregularly allocated themselves 1.7 billion shillings as service awards in a meeting chaired by Ms. Anita Among,” Zedriga said in the statement.

“Although he responded to NEC’s request to show cause why he should not be recalled from the parliamentary commission, he didn’t provide any satisfactory explanation for engaging in this grave action which goes against the mission, values, and objectives of the party. In particular, he did not make any attempt to respond to the specific accusations leveled against him. In Light of this, NEC has resolved to recall Hon, Mathias Mpuuga from the parliamentary commission on account of corruption, dishonesty, and abuse of office, and to notify parliament on the same.” added Zedriga.

The party further resolved to nominate Mityana Municipality Mp Francis Zaake Butebi to replace Mpuuga as parliament commissioner.

“His nomination was informed by the fact that he was illegally removed from that role in March 2022 in order to pave the way for the gran corrupt and questionable dealings of the parliamentary commission that have now come to light.” reads part of the statement.

Mpuuga was nominated to to the Parliamentary Commission on December 2023 to Francis Zaake who had been sacked for alleged indiscipline based on a report by the Rules, Discipline, and Privileges Committee chaired by Abdu Katuntu.

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The Court of Appeal had ruled that Zaake should be reinstated as commissioner but the Parliament through the Attorney General filed an appeal which is yet to be disposed.

Mpuuga’s appointment as a commissioner was publicly seen as a demotion since was losing his position as Leader of the Opposition which he had held for the previous two and half years. He was replaced with  Nakawa West MP Joel Ssenyonyi.

Documents shared during the online protest led by Makerere Don, Dr. Spire Ssentongo, and other activists using the hashtag #Uganda Parliament Exhibition implicated Mpuuga in receiving 500 million shillings of the said 1.7 billion shillings.

Although Mpuuga was subsequently advised by the NUP President Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine to apologize to the public and step down from the parliament commission, Mpuuga rejected the call arguing that it was based on spite, and deliberate misrepresentation for mischievous reasons.

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