As legislators in the10th parliament of Uganda move to censure Gen. Elly Tumwine over blocking house work, experts have weighed in on the issue and opined that the whole process may be a complete joke.
The resolution to censure the maverick military general followed presentation and debate on the Human rights committee report, which implicated Tumwne for failing the committee’s work when he blocked access of MPs to detention centers alleged to be places of torture.
After the Wednesday afternoon debate, a motion to censure Gen. Tumwine was moved, supported and passed. The question is; will the move to censure the army general who has a huge attachment to the government in power succeed in a parliament whose allegiance majorly lies in the president? Or, it is another exercise in futility?
Mwambutsya Ndebesa, a professor of History and a lecturer at Makerere University says the 10th parliament lacks the nerve to successfully censure Gen. Tumwine owing to the questionable credibility record of majority of its members. He says success or failure of the censure move depends solely on Museveni’s position on the matter since majority of MPs do not have the balls to stand and oppose president Museveni’s bidding.
Mwambutsya says if Museveni wants Tumwine to stay in parliament, He will just convene a party caucus meeting, orient them on his position, and the legislators will simply comply. He however said, the position of president Museveni may depend on his political fortunes or misfortunes in the upcoming 2021 elections because he may not want to antagonize the electorate in case the matter gets out of parliament to voters.
Uganda Law Society president Mr. Simon Peter Kinobe says the question of integrity of MPs in the 10th parliament is a huge factor that will dictate whether they will proceed with the motion or not since its success depends on a majority vote. He says the attendance record of MPs has been wanting especially during debate on critical issues which may present a scenario where the process may stall up to a time when the movers lose interest in the matter.
On the influence of the president on the censure move, Kinobe however noted that Ugandans must appreciate that President Museveni has been unequivocal on cases of impunity, and he may not be ready to protect Gen. Tumwine.
David Pulkol, a former minister and security expert says the success of the 10th parliament in censuring Gen. Tumwine is possible but cabinet will render their effort worthless. He says even if the 10th parliament successfully gets the censure vote, the president will redeploy Gen. Tumwine the way he handled the case of the three ministers who were censured by the 6th parliament.
Pulkol says that makes the effort by legislators behind the censure move futile since the censured ministers in the end find a way back to cabinet including the likes of Sam Kahamba Kutesa, Brig. Jim Muhwezi and others.
Pulkol commended the 10th parliament for re-discovering its constitutional mandate to prevail over excesses of the executive and censure errant ministers which he says has been ignored for many years. He says ever since the 6th parliament which censured three ministers, the successive parliaments have been shy to assert themselves in checking the excesses of the executive which presents it as a rubber stamp parliament.