15 January 2013

Uganda: NRM to Discipline 'Rebel' MPs

The NRM Caucus has endorsed the move to discipline five of its party members who do not toe the party line.

The caucus, currently sitting in Kyankwanzi, resolved that MPs Theodore Ssekikubo, Barnabas Tinkasimire, Wilfred Niwagaba, Vincent Kyamadidi and Muhammed Nsereko appear before the disciplinary committee.

NRM Caucus spokesperson Evelyn Anite on Monday told New Vision that: "The secretary seneral (Amama Mbabazi) informed the caucus that disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against some of the members, who are soon going to appear before the party national disciplinary committee chaired by the NRM First National Vice Chairperson, Haji Moses Kigongo."

Anite said Mbabazi also told the meeting that NRM MPs, who ceased being members of the party for any reason, would automatically lose their seats in the House.

"We prefer that members distinguish between right and wrong and consciously do the right things without external supervision. But members of the caucus that are errant and had made it a habit to act in breach of the NRM code of conduct are going to be dealt with firmly," Anite quoted Mbabazi as having said.

Sources said the decision to discipline the members was reached after the caucus discussed the question of party discipline.

President Yoweri Museveni, who is the NRM party chairman, did not attend the meeting. He was reportedly meeting a delegation from South Sudan.

However, the President is expected to make a response to the caucus later.

Sources, who attended the closed-door meeting, said some of MPs were furious over the rebel MPs "behaviour" and demanded that the party expel them.

"It was a very hot issue; one senior female MP even demanded that the MPs be expelled. Members were outraged about the continuous acts of indiscipline in the party. They said this should stop and the perpetrators punished severely," a source said.

However, the "rebel" MPs on Monday told New Vision that they were not bothered by the caucus' decision.

"Personally, I am not scared of the trial because I have support from the electorate. Let them serve us with the summons," Tinkasimire said.

Niwagaba said: "I am not bothered at all. But I will make a formal response when they bring the summons."

Efforts to reach the other members failed.

Recently, the NRM party threatened to expel the five outspoken members from the party for reportedly criticising the President and going against the party's positions in Parliament.

Government Chief Whip Justine Kasule Lumumba recently wrote to Mbabazi, asking him to forward the MPs' names to the national disciplinary committee.

In a related development, Anite said the caucus also approved a nine-man committee to examine the draft rules of procedure of the NRM Parliamentary Caucus.

The members of the committee are John Nasasira (chairperson), Fred Ruhindi, Adolf Mwesige, Stephen Tashobya, Kabakumba Masiko, Daudi Migereko, Wilfred Niwagaba, Margaret Komuhangi and Jim Muhwezi.

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