Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi was today grilled for two hours by the parliamentary committee of rules and privileges to explain why he defied a resolution by parliament to step aside to pave way for the bribery allegations him in the oil sector.
Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi was today grilled for two hours by the parliamentary committee of rules and privileges to explain why he defied a resolution by parliament to step aside to pave way for the bribery allegations him in the oil sector. Lead Counsel for the committee and MP for Rujumbura County, Jim Muhwezi, challenged Mbabazi to use his common sense and judge the parliamentary resolution on the basis of conscience and political morality and not a legal one.
He said that Ugandans would lose confidence and trust in the independence of the house if Mbabazi and the executive defied the resolution to the very end. Muhwezi appealed to Mbabazi to recognize that his being investigated was not a guilty verdict already passed but an attempt by the committee and parliament to allow for a fair investigation process with minimum interference in the work of the ad hoc committee investigating Corruption allegations in the Oil sector.
Other committee members who pinned Mbabazi included Ken Lukyamuzi, Jospeh Balikudembe and Ayena Odongo, who all said that the matter in question was appealing to the Prime Minister to look at his own conscience and precedence set in other commonwealth parliaments, defining contempt of parliament as defiance of a parliamentary decision.
But an angry and composed Mbabazi told the committee that he maintains his innocence and stands by his earlier decision not to step aside because the allegations of corruption was a fabrication, without any basis of truth. He said he was confident that the committee would find him innocent because he trusts that parliament would not condemn a person without giving him a fair hearing.
Mbabazi cited his coming to appear before the committee for over two hours, amidst his busy schedules, as proof of his respect of parliament. He said that he has viewed his own conscience and finds no reason to step aside. Mbabazi said that the contempt of parliament rule does not have any offence attached to it in the rules of procedure insisting that he has not committed any offence.
He suggested that parliament should after this inquiry provide for the offences that make up the offence of contempt of parliament. Mbabazi argued that the parliamentary resolution demanding him to step aside was not binding in nature but advisory, a similar interpretation that was made by the cabinet as well as the Attorney General. The Rules committee is winding up business next week, with a report expected when parliament resumes on 29th November. On Monday, the committee will interview Internal Affairs Minister Hillary Onek.