10 January 2013

Uganda: Lawmakers Deny Forging Signatures

Kampala — Members of Parliament who petitioned the Speaker to recall the House for a special sitting have said they are not bothered about the 10 MPs who wrote to withdraw their names from the list of 126.

The leader petitioner Dennis Obua said those who wrote to withdraw their names are wasting time because a precedent was already set in the 6th Parliament

"In the 6th Parliament, when 17 MPs wanted to withdraw their names from the petition for censuring Jim Muhwezi, the Speaker did not allow it," Obua said.

Parliament sources revealed on Tuesday that 10 MPs including Kyenjojo woman MP Lyndah Timbigamba, Nakaseke County MP Edward Ssempala, Kiruhura woman MP Beatrice Barumba Rusaniya, Bikwe North MP Kakoba Onyango, Kasanda County North MP Godfrey Lubega and Mpigi woman MP Sarah Nakawunde wrote to withdraw their signatures from the petition.

Other legislators said to have withdrawn their names include Kole County MP Fred Ebil, Samia Bugwe North MP John Mulimba, and Bunghoko North MP Yahaya Gudoi.

Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said the two MPs - Lyndah Timbigamba and Fred Ebil - who claimed their signatures on the list of 126 MPs had been forged, were telling lies.

"I am shocked that Timbigamba claims we forged her signature when she signed from her home after serving us with food and drinks," Nganda said.

Nganda also expressed shock that Fred Ebil was also claiming his signature had been forged.

"I am the one who gave Ebil the papers to sign and sent it back after signing. He should be the last to claim that his signature was forged. For Timbigamba it is understandable because NRM MPs are under pressure but Ebil most have been motivated by financial gains," Nganda said.

On Tuesday while addressing journalists at Parliament, Ebil said: "I have already written to the Speaker to inform her that my signature on the petition was forged. What shocked me most is the forgery of my signature which I saw in the papers.

"As lawmakers, we cannot be lawbreakers by doing forgery. They should apologize to me if they don't want me to take legal action against them."

Reacting to Ssemujju's remarks on Wednesday, Timbigamba said Ssemujju was lying.

"Ssemujju is lying. They forged my signature. I did not see him in my home and probably he does not know where my home is."

On the fate of their petition after 10 MPs wrote to withdraw their names, Nganda said, "That will happen for the first time because in the 6th Parliament, the then-Speaker James Wapakhabulo ruled that no one can withdraw a name from a petition except through court. What they are engaged in is simply an academic exercise."

Obua said they did their part as required by article 95 (5) of the Constitution and rule 20 of the Rules of Procedure and whatever remains is within the discretion of the Speaker of Parliament.

Meanwhile, sources revealed that another NRM MP (Amos Lugolobi) of Ntenjeru North had also joined the other 10 MPs to seek withdrawal of his signature.

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