Member of Parliament for Lwemiyaga County Theodre Ssekikubo has noted that it is in Parliament’s interest for General Aronda Nyakairima to resign from the army before being welcomed as a Minister of Internal Affairs.
Ssekikubo noted that there is no evidence whatsoever that Aronda has resigned as commanded by the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and as provided for by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Act.
Article 208(2) of the Constitution says that UPDF shall be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional, disciplined, productive and subordinate to the civilian authority.
The UPDF Act under clause 99 provides that a serving officer or militant who desires to seek political office shall first resign or retire.
Ssekikubo said that the two provisions make it very clear an army official has to resign to take political office and questioned the basis on which President Yoweri Museveni appointed General Aronda without his first resigning.
He argued that the President is using General Aronda as precedent. He claimed that if Aronda is vetted President Museveni would use this example to later appoint his son Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba as Minister in Parliament while he still holds his position in the military.
Ssekikubo explained that going by the Constitution and the UPDF Act, it is clear that if one is an officer of UPDF he shall be subordinate to the civilian Authority.
He accused President Museveni of trying to precipitate a crisis where the acting commander of defence forces Edward Katumba Wamala will have difficulty saluting his predecessor Aronda.
He challenged the president to come out and refute the fact that he is using Aronda to set precedence and later enter Muhoozi in Parliament.
However Ssekikubo who is also a member of the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee noted that he will not accept Aronda as Internal Affairs Minister and demanded a substantive Minister to replace Hillary Onek.
MP Barnabas Tinkasimire of Buyaga East quoted the Bible saying that in 2nd Timothy Chapter two verse four says that no one serving in the military serves in civilian matters.
He questioned the insistence of the president to appoint Aronda without resigning from the army saying that even the president had to resign from the army before joining active politics. He also brought forward the example of Education Minister Jesca Alupo who is a retired Major and others.
Tinkasimire attacked Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah over the media reports that he sided with the Attorney General and convinced the president that there is no law stopping Parliament from vetting Aronda. He argued that article 78 on which the Attorney General based his advice to president provides for army representatives saying that it is different from one being appointed a minister.
He further noted that Aronda’s appointment as Minister without him resigning from the army first will create a crisis in the constitution and parliament as well.
General Katumba Wamala, an army representative in Parliament, declined to comment on the matter when contacted. He said he was not well versed with the discussions in parliament on the matter no did he have any say in Aronda Nyakairima’s resignation from the army. He said he would only comment once he had all the necessary information on the matter before him.