The ruling party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) has described the decision by the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to keep the four expelled NRM rebel MP’s in the house as selective.
A statement by the NRM electoral commission chairman Ruhakana Rugunda and the Central Executive committee, says she took the convenient decision but she ignored to read and apply the provisions of the constitution holistically.
Rugunda says that the decision fell short of recognizing Article 1(2) which empowers the people of Uganda to choose how they shall be governed.
NRM expelled four MPs last month after the party desciplinary committee found them guilty of varius offenses including disrespect of party positions, use of insulting language and campaigning for the opposition in bye-elections. Those dismissed are Tinkasimire Barnabas, MP Buyaga West; Theodore Ssekikubo, MP Lwemiyaga County; Mohammed Nsereko MP Kampala Central and Wilfred Niwagaba, MP Ndorwa West.
The NRM wrote to the speaker asking her to notify the Clerk to Parliament, that their positions had fallen vacant.
In her ruling on Thursday, the Speaker quoted article 83 of the constitution which is not specific on the expulsion of members of parliament by their political parties.
Rugunda states that in taking her decision, the Speaker should have considered the entire constitutional so as to give rightful meaning to Article 83(1) (g) which defines the circumstances an MP leaves the house.
Yesterday the NRM chief whip in Parliament, Lumumba Justine Kasule quoted rule 9 (2) and (3) of the rules and procedure of parliament which provide for two sides in the house.
The right hand side of the Speaker is reserved for the leader of government business and members of the party in government. She added that the NRM secretary General Amama Mbabazi had written to Kadaga informing her of the withdrawal of the party support to the four MP’s thus questioning where they would sit.
Kadaga was quick to respond saying they would sit infront of her desk since they are MPs receiving a thunderous applause form members.
However, Rugunda says by purporting to create special accommodation for the four MPs, in front of the Speaker’s desk, she effectively recognizes the fact that they ceased to belong and represent NRM in Parliament which defeats her earlier interpretation of Article 83 (1)(g) of the Constitution.
The NRM central executive committee vows to vigorously challenge the Speaker’s decision to create another category of representation in Parliament outside those provided for in the law.
They also argue that the Speaker is the second National Vice Chairperson of the NRM, member of CEC and having attended and participated in the unanimous decision regarding the status of the four MPs she would have let the matter to be presided over the deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyha.
They maintain that the Speaker’s decision notwithstanding, the NRM’s position is that the membership of the four MPs in its ranks ceased, and their continued stay in Parliament offend the clear provisions of the Constitution.
Rugunda says that the ruling of the Speaker is not only an issue of NRM as a political organization but sets a dangerous precedent that undermines the spirit of multi-party democracy.