The Defense committee of parliament resolves to hold Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga in Contempt following his failure to appear before it as earlier scheduled.
Kiyonga was expected to provide an update on the status of forces agreement between government of Uganda and South Sudan.
Today’s session was based on a recent directive by the speaker of parliament agreement Rebecca Kadaga in relation to queries raised by the leader of opposition in Parliament Wafula Oguttu regarding the continued presence of Ugandan troops in South Sudan.
Oguttu had questioned the cost implication of UPDF presence in South Sudan and requested for an update on rescue efforts as well as the number of UPDF soldiers killed in South Sudan.
The troops, reported to be fighting alongside South Sudanese government forces against rebels, were deployed in December 2013 at the height of a conflict between President Salva Kiir and a Breakaway faction led by Dr Riek Machar.
But the much anticipated sitting flopped as a result of Kiyonga’s unexplained failure to attend despite acknowledging receipt of the summons. A series of other engagements have also yielded no results on the same matter.
This evoked the decision to hold Kiyonga in contempt of Parliament guided by Rule 197 (d) (v) of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure which gives the committee of parliament, powers of a high court.
Under the rules, (Rule 195 (1)), contempt of Parliament is defined as an act or omission that obstructs or impedes Parliament in the performance of its functions.
Now, Simon Mulongo the Bubulo East MP and Member of the Defense Committee observes that the act tantamount to obstructing the work of parliament. He adds that as such a process of holding Minister of Defense Crispus Kiyonga should be started.
MP Mulongo suggestion was endorsed by Committee members; Eriaku Peter, Butambala County MP Muwanga Kivumbi, and Kyadondo East MP Ibrahim Semujju Nganda.
This was despite efforts by UPDF representative Col Phinehas Kaitirima to convince the MPs to give the Defense Ministry and the Minister another opportunity to be heard before a harsh decision is taken.
The Committee Vice Chairperson, Peter Eriaku stated that that the Committee was going to write to the Defence Minister expressing its displeasure and demanding an explanation for the same. The matter will then be referred to the defense and internal affairs committee of Parliament.