The Minister of State for Defence and Veteran Affairs, Col (Rtd) Charles Engola Okello will appear before the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline for contempt of Parliament.
The directive was issued by the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga following failure by the minister to present statements from his sector as was drawn on the Order Paper.
The Minister was supposed to present statements on the status of implementation of the parliamentary resolution to suspend operations of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces [UPDF] Fisheries Protection unit on major water bodies in Uganda and another on the spike in cattle raids and thefts in the Karamoja Sub-region and the demise of the LC III chairman of Rupa sub county, who was gunned down in the barracks.
The other statement lined up on the Order Paper was on inquiries made by government into the matter of a one 16 year old girl, Ekit Naume who was raped by a UPDF soldier in Amolatar district and a case filed at Amolatar police station.
However, when the first statement was called by the Clerk to Parliament, Hon Engola Okello informed the House that he was not ready with the statements as some of the investigations into the cases were still ongoing.
“I do not have the statement here and now because the board of inquiry has not yet finished their work,” Engola said.
Hon Anthony Okello(Kioga County) then rose on a point of order where he quoted the Hansard of 19 December 2019 where the Minister informed the House that the concerned persons had been arrested and that he would present a report to the House on the matter.
“These are the records of what the minister of defence stated. Today, the minister is talking about a board of inquiry: a completely different subject matter from what he committed to this august House, “Anthony Okello said.
Mukono South MP, Hon Muyanja Ssenyonga said that the concerned ministers have not taken any initiatives to go and on the ground and ensure that these investigations take place.
“Not even once has the minister or the minister of state bothered to go to Karamoja. They are just seated here in Kampala. That is why they cannot come up with reports,“ Ssenyonga said adding that, ‘I do not see why we do not come up with a motion to censure the two ministers because this is putting Government in bad light, as if they are not performing’ .
This prompted the Speaker to issue the directive to the Committee that action is taken against the minister.
“I think it is time that this House took action. I would like to instruct the Rules Committee to proceed against the Minister of State for Defence and Veteran Affairs under Rule 221 (4) for contempt of this House,” the Speaker said.
The legislators have over time raised concern about the absence of ministers in the House which has on some occasions seen the adjournment of the sittings of the plenary.