The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, has cautioned legislators against discussing information being disclosed or unearthed during committee investigations before the final report is presented and adopted by the House.
In his communication at the start of the Tuesday, 23 August 2022 plenary,Tayebwa expressed his reservation with the conduct of some Members of Parliament whom he said have been making comments about the ongoing probe on the operations of Uganda National Airlines.
The Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) is currently scrutinising the Auditor General’s report for the Financial Year 2020/2021 on the operations of the national carrier.
However, the spotlight has been on the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Jenifer Bamutaraki, with the committee focussing on her academic qualifications having confessed that she did not possess her undergraduate transcript, 24 years after she reportedly graduated from Makerere University.
Members listening to the Deputy Speaker’s counsel on making public statements on matters not adopted by the House
The COSASE investigation into the national carrier has generated public interest and enjoyed wide media coverage with some legislators accused of making public statements against the method of work by the committee.
Tayebwa guided that legislators who have issues with the way the committees are conducting business and believe that they contravening Article 90 of the Constitution and Rule 208 of the Rules of Procedure, to report to the leadership of the House instead of making public utterances.
“If you have an issue with the conduct of the committee, this House has leadership. I want to caution those interfering with how we are doing our work, calling and threatening the committees. We shall not allow anything to interfere with our work,” Tayebwa said.
“I argue you colleagues to protect the image of this Parliament and next time please do not force us to invoke the Rules of Procedure. Colleagues, even when you are in the committees, conduct business in a manner that protects the image of Parliament,” he added.
Hon. John Musila says the media house that hosted him misrepresented his views on its social media channels
Bubulo East County legislator, Hon. John Musila, who had been quoted as accusing COSASE of corruption, rose to apologise to the House after the Deputy Speaker had guided on the need for MPs to protect the image of the august House.
Musila informed Parliament that he had appeared on an NBS TV vernacular talk show and insisted that his statements were misrepresented on the company’s social media channels in the process of translating his submissions from the vernacular [Luganda] into English.
Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba also told his colleagues to always examine the provisions of Rule 216 (2) of the Rules of Procedure before going out to divulge details of evidence and documents that is adduced before the Committees of Parliament.
“It is important that when the matter is still under investigation, I would implore members to try and avoid going to the media,” said Niwagaba, also the Shadow Attorney General.