Uganda: Bobi Wine to Be Disciplined Over Calling COVID Cash Bribe - Kadaga

The speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has sent Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine to the parliamentary rules committee for allegedly putting the institution of parliament into disrepute.

This comes after a statement by Bunyole West MP James Waluswaka demanding for an explanation from Kyagulanyi on why he branded the Shs 20 million given to each MP as a 'bribe'.

The money was part of the Shs 10 billion that was distributed to MPs as facilitation for anti-coronavirus activities. Parliament and MPs have struggled to state the exact role that MPs are going to play in the fight against coronavirus spread and why they needed such facilitation. A section of MPs has since returned the funds to the parliamentary commission account, saying that it is morally wrong to receive the money when the majority of ordinary Ugandans are struggling.

Waluswaka reported to parliament that Kyagulanyi had tagged the funds as a bribe, as seen on his bank transfer from which has been making rounds on social media. He also brought to the attention of parliament, a video of Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde prompting NBS TV host Simon Kagwa Njala to ask her about the same controversial Shs 20 million.

"These two people should be charged of [sic] attempted murder. Yes, because they did not follow the guidelines and two, NBS as an institution should be brought to the committee of ICT because we thought these journalists are professionals. How does somebody ask you that 'ask me this?'" Waluswaka said.

"Rt Hon. speaker, one of our own, honurable Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, returned the money as per the directives of clerk to parliament but on the deposit slip, he said he has returned a bribe. Honourable Kyagulanyi should come and explain to the house and country who gave the bribe and why, and the person who gave the bribe, and who has taken should be arrested. So he must be put to order and explain because, madam speaker, people now think that this house can be bribed to do its mandated duty of appropriation," Waluswaka added.

West Budama South MP, Jacob Oboth Oboth, said Kyagulanyi had portrayed parliament in a bad light. The legal and parliamentary affairs committee chairperson also said Ntungamo Municipality MP Gerald Karuhanga and the Erute South MP, Jonathan Odur were wrong to run to court when they applied for a temporary injunction to block the disbursement of the money.

He said once MPs lose the debate on the floor of parliament that should be the end instead of the "ping pong" of running to court.

"What honourable Waluswaka has raised is a very fundamental issue. This a family called parliament, we're the children of this house, we go out and expose the nakedness of our mother and our father. When you still belong to this family; you go out and state that the house had given you a bribe. Is that just blackmail or portraying bad intention?" Oboth Oboth said.

Adding: "Madam speaker, a member loses a debate here and goes to court. If it requires us to amend our rules and amend our law, we should. This ping pong should stop. This is parliament and parliament must be parliament. They expose us as if we're all the same. You remember the other day when the honourable Kyagulanyi was donating 25 tonnes of posho, was it a bribe? He should never take Ugandans for a ride. If he can take Ugandans for a ride, not this parliament."

Kadaga said that parliament needed to take action on the alleged indiscipline of MPs saying that Kyagulanyi will have to appear before the rules committee to explain his bribe statements. She also questioned how minister Kyambadde could solicit questions on TV concerning funds appropriated parliament.

"Now concerning the indiscipline, I think we need to take action. How can a minister solicit because I saw the video; 'mbuuza ekibuzo kye ssente [ask me about the money]'. That is what she said, and then dramatically, she rejects. The minister who comes here, yesterday we supported her on the budget, she was not even here. To embarrass the house? People will have to answer. So the members who are indiscipline we're going to take action. The honourable Kyagulanyi after making a statement he will have to go to the rules committee for bringing the house into disrepute. The others I will tell you what we shall do," Kadaga warned.

Kadaga who appears to be personally invested in the money on Thursday said it was "stupidity" for MPs to run to court to block the disbursement of the money. She also accused the attorney general William Byaruhanga of working with the judiciary to overrun parliament after he advised that it would contempt of court if MPs went ahead and withdrew the money. She also said the court has no business in determining how MPs should utilise their accounts.

On April 21, justice Esta Nambayo stopped MPs from using the money until the matter is decided upon by court on April 29. Kadaga said she doesn't understand why the public is incensed with MPs' Shs 20m yet other people like RDCs got biggers monies, Shs 55 each for the same anti-coronavirus activities.

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