A bitter exchange among lawmakers yesterday ended with Parliament unanimously demanding that the security minister, Gen.
Elly Tumwine, appears before the committee on rules and privileges. Tumwine is accused of allegedly using foul language against the institution he serves and its head, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.
Besides the accusation of challenging the authority of both Parliament and the Speaker, Tumwine is also accused of allegedly attempting to attack Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal. It was Atkins Katusabe (Bukonjo West MP) who opened a floodgate of indictments against Tumwine, when he said following security shoot-to-kill instructions on civilians that were protesting the closure of Milamwa abattoir in Kasese district, he contacted Tumwine to save the situation, but he simply rubbished Parliament.
“When I asked him (Tumwine) to rein in on Police and the army or I report to Parliament, the minister simply asked me ‘who is the Speaker, who is she, what is Parliament? Speaker rules over Parliament, she does not rule over Uganda. This country was liberated by our army and not Kadaga’s Parliament. Don’t tell me about your Speaker and Parliament. The army cannot be directed by civilians…,” Katusabe quoted the security minister as saying.
The comments drew condemnation from across the political divide, including the state minister for veteran affairs, Rtd Lt Col. Bright Rwamirama, who said:
“Once the comments are verified as true, this would not only be unfortunate but also unfair.”
Busiro East MP Medard Sseggona used the charged session to move a motion without notice, asking Parliament’s committee on rules and privileges to investigate Tumiwne’s alleged misconduct.
MPs Moses Kasibante (Rubaga North) and Betty Nambooze (Mukono Municipality) added fuel to fire by saying it was not the first time Tumwine was watering down the authority of Parliament and undermining the Speaker.
“When Parliament instructed the good general to vacate Nommo Gallery, he was heard saying during a radio interview, that the Speaker is ignorant and Parliament is just a syndicated cohort of individuals used to steal what rightly belongs to him,” Kasibante said.
However, it was Ogwal’s accusation that during a heated debate on the use of DDT to fight malaria in Uganda that Tumwine pointed a gun at her, which drew calls for action to bring him to order. Attempts by Tumwine to explain himself were futile as Kadaga ruled that he appears before the committee to substantiate the said foul language.
Minutes later, after the House was through with the Tumwine debate, Ogwal raised an alarm that while in the lobby yesterday, Tumwine confronted her and nearly slapped her for revealing that he once pointed a gun at her.
Ogwal’s claims were backed by Doreen Amule (Amolatar Woman MP) and Hatwib Katoto (Katerere MP), who said Tumwine lashed out at Ogwal for ‘lying’ that he pointed a gun at her.
Speaking to journalists, Tumwine said:
“I have no problem appearing before Parliament, a committee or God, but their treatment was unfair and against laws of natural justice. They acted like a mob, like that woman Ogwal lied that I put a gun on her. I am not afraid to say that Parliament’s quality of debate is declining, we spend time on trivial things.”