Sixty opposition legislators have signed a resolution calling for the Minister of Security, Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi, to be censured for all" />

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July 18, 2024
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Sixty sign petition to reprimand Security Minister Jim Muhwezi

Sixty opposition legislators have signed a resolution calling for the Minister of Security, Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi, to be censured for allegedly abdicating responsibility in the face of security officials torturing Ugandans.

On Thursday, Joyce Bagala, the Shadow Minister of Information and Anti-Corruption, released the figure, adding that more than 60 MPs have signed a motion deposited at the Sergeant-at-Arms’ office.

Bagala said they’re still hoping that the requisite 176 signatures will be collected before the Parliament Rules of Procedure’s 10-day deadline. She explained that a number of Opposition MPs are now on leave and will return soon.

On the 10th of February, the Opposition in Parliament began signing a resolution aiming to censure Minister Muhwezi, and the 10 working days allowed by Parliament Rules of Procedure will expire next week on Thursday, February 24th.

For the censure motion to pass, the Opposition needs 176 signatures from the 529 MPs in the 11th Parliament. With 336 MPs, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) has a majority, while all opposition political parties with representation in Parliament have 109 MPs. The rest are Independent Members of Parliament.

The Mukono South MP, Fred Kayondo, sees this as a challenge for the opposition in parliament. He questioned why a number of Opposition MPs have yet to sign the censure motion proposed by Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of the Opposition.

The decision to censure Muwhezi was announced by the Opposition on Tuesday last week as the following step in a two-week boycott of plenary sessions that was declared last week on Thursday.

“We have resolved to invoke rule 109 of our Rules of Procedure and Article 118 of the Constitution to censure the Minister of Security because over the last one and half years government has been receiving complaints from the public…I laid documents in Parliament in his presence over torture, forced disappearances, murders and he did not respond,” Mpuuga told journalists.

On February 8th, Uganda Radio Network-URN received an official notice of censure from the Clerk of Parliament, Speaker, and Deputy Speaker’s offices. Mpuuga accuses the Minister of Security of completely abdicating his responsibilities, of failing to perform his public duties, and of being unqualified to hold a sensitive public office.

Minister Muhwezi has breached his oath of allegiance and office, according to Mpuuga’s notice, by supporting human rights crimes like as enforced disappearances, torture in imprisonment, and extrajudicial killings.

Several images and videos of civilians have been circulating on social media in recent weeks, including reports of torture by security agents while in jail. Novelist Kakwenza Rukirabasaija and Samuel Masereka, the National Unity Platform –NUP Coordinator in Kasese district, are two recent incidents where torture marks on their bodies were visible during incarceration.

This isn’t the first time the Opposition in Parliament has attempted to impeach certain Ministers. MPs once succeeded in having Jim Muhwezi fired from cabinet, but subsequent attempts to condemn ministers after the restoration of parties have failed due to insufficient opposition numbers in parliament failing to raise the requisite signatures.

During the 9th Parliament, a resolution to censure then-Kampala Minister Frank Tumwebaze failed after only 20 MPs signed out of the requisite 125 for the censure to be carried out.

Another censure motion against former Security Minister Gen. Elly Tumwine was defeated after a group of MPs chastised their colleagues for avoiding the censure process. Tumwine was charged with contempt of Parliament.

Adapted by Edwin Musaazi from Uganda Radio Network

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