Abdu Katuntu's continued grip unto the leadership of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) is illegal, Forum for Democratic Change has said.
FDC spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, said Katuntu, an FDC member, needs to to stop participating in illegalities and hand over office to the newly designated Cosase chairperson, Mubarak Munyagwa.
The FDC leadership and speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga have been engaged in a ping pong in the last months over the Cosase leadership. It follows the expiry of the term of office of Katuntu and his vice, Anita Among on January 13, 2019.
However, Kadaga granted them an extension to complete the ongoing investigation into the closure and sale of seven commercial banks. The speaker and leader of opposition in parliament (LoP), Betty Aol Ocan held several meetings last month to resolve the impasse. During the meetings, the speaker insisted that Katuntu first completes the probe before handing over to Munyagwa.
Kadaga later, in a radio political talk show on Namirembe FM, said FDC were jealousy of Katuntu's achievements as Cosase chairperson. Ssemujju and current FDC president Patrick Oboi Amuriat once headed Cosase. Kadaga said it's through Katuntu's leadership that Cosase has gained prominence more than any other committee.
In a January 24 letter, the clerk to parliament, Jane Kibirige, said Cosase is expected to complete investigations and submit a report into the closure of the commercial banks before February 22. The committee resumed activities this morning, interacting with the shareholders of some of the closed banks.
Addressing journalists at the FDC headquarters in Najjanankumbi, Ssemujju said there are parallel Cosase leaderships; one chaired by Katuntu and the other by Munyagwa. Ssemujju also said FDC hasn't backed down on having Moses Kasibante as Cosase vice chairperson.
Kasibante was designated to the committee by the LoP but the speaker instead sent him to the appointments committee. Ssemujju told journalists that the FDC president, Patrick Amuriat Odoi will write to the speaker seeking an explanation.
"We nominated Hon Moses Kasibante to deputise Hon Mubarak Munyagwa but the speaker blocked this appointment. The FDC will seek an explanation from her. We’re also shocked that after the designation of members to the standing committees, the old leadership of Cosase is inviting witnesses. In effect, we have two Cosases in operation now. People who have been designated take their offices immediately after designation. We now those designated under the law and those posturing that they are chairing COSASE. The FDC would like to warn Hon Abdu Katuntu who is part of this illegality." said Ssemujju.
Ssemujju said FDC also rejects the Administration of Parliament Bill, 2019. The bill proposes to remove the powers of appointing a leader of opposition in parliament (LoP), opposition chief whip, and deputy opposition chief whip from the majority opposition party open the process to elections involving all opposition MPs.
The bill is fronted by the Kabale Municipality, MP Andrew Baryayanga and Busiro East MP Medard Sseggona. The bill, Ssemujju says goes against the practice of Commonwealth where Uganda borrows its parliament procedures and administration practices.
He said the bill doesn't propose election of the ruling party, National Resistance Movement (NRM) chief whip. As result, Ssemujju argued that the bill will create different standards for a single parliament.
"We reject the Administration of the Parliament Amendment Bill 2019 which is being moved by Hon Andrew Baryayanga from Kabale Municipality and Hon Medard Lubega Sseggona from Busiro East. This bill proposes election of opposition leadership in parliament by all parties. It even goes against the practices of the Commonwealth." he said.
"While the same bill proposes that for example the chief opposition whip should be elected by all opposition MPs, it makes no proposal when it comes to the NRM whip. So we’ll have a parliament where different standards are set for the same thing. If you want everything in parliament to be elected, maybe even the clerk to parliament should be elected."