In November 2022, the speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Anita Among expressed disappointment to members of parliament and warned them against leaking parliament and committee reports before they are discussed by the house.
In doing this she was indirectly hitting Nakawa west legislator Joel Ssenyonyi who was accused of leaking his COSASE report on Uganda airlines to some media houses in Uganda thing which was considered unethical and unprofessional.
Early this month, Ssenyonyi came out to defend himself on the delay to table the Uganda airlines report where his committee exposed a lot of flaws at the national airline including the hiring of unprofessional staff.
However, in a new twist, on Wednesday, January 18, 2022, the Speaker called for an audit into the performance of Parliament’s Committee on State Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase).
Ms Among who is the Bukedea District Women representative in the 11th Parliament said the performance of the committee chaired by Nakawa West MP, Joel Ssenyonyi, a member of the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) is of great concern.
“I noted yesterday that the performance of Cosase in processing the auditor general’s report 2020/2021 has been a cause of concern to this House. And failure for the committee to do its work is an indictment on the House. First on the committee then on the House. When somebody fails, you all fail and we have all failed,” the Speaker told plenary on Wednesday afternoon.
According to her, six months have passed but the reports are not ready.
“Even if we gave you an additional year you may not be able to finish. And based on that, we are going to adopt all the reports that are pending under Cosase because the committee headed by the Leader of Opposition has failed to produce what we expected of them but we need t help this country,” she said.
In the House, Ssenyonyi seemed to take the rebuke in good faith. “I appreciate your guidance, as committees, we should be able to do a lot more than we are doing challenges notwithstanding,” he said.
But in media interviews and social media posts after the speaker’s directive, Ssenyonyi made funny comments accusing the head of the legislative arm of government and the country’s number three of witch-hunt.
He further accused the speaker of blocking the tabling of the report into mismanagement at Uganda Airlines. He also juxtaposed his one-year performance at Cosase with Among’s tenure in the same accountability committee.
“Madam Speaker, when you led Cosase, for five months you handled one BoU report and Speaker Kadaga extended your term to finish it, at least for us we’ve done five entities in one year. I’m not sure what became of that BoU report! Mpozi nekilala, why don’t you want us to table the Airlines report?” Ssenyonyi fired back.
Madam Speaker,when you led COSASE, for 5 months you handled one BOU report&Speaker Kadaga extended your term to finish it,atleast for us we've done 5 entities in one yr.I'm not sure what became of that BOU report!
Mpozi nekilala,why don't you want us to table the Airlines report? pic.twitter.com/10wrZHUB7r
— Joel Ssenyonyi (@JoelSsenyonyi) January 18, 2023
Hon. Abdu Katuntu Responds
Abdu Katuntu, the Bugweri county member of parliament has lashed out at Troubled Nakawa West MP Joel Ssenyonyi for his comments about the COSASE report on Bank of Uganda.
Hon. Abdul Katuntu who also chaired the same committee in the last parliament alongside now speaker Anita Annet Among and investigated the hitherto rot in Bank of Uganda, advised Ssenyonyi to find time and read the Cosase on Bank of Uganda, how the probe was conducted and its impact on the current BoU after parliament passed its resolutions.
“It would be advisable to read the Committee report” Katuntu freely advised Ssenyonyi.
He thus, after asking Ssenyonyi to read the BoU committee report, also advised him to ask any current senior staff at BoU whether there have been reforms at the Bank arising from the resolutions of parliament when it adopted the committee recommendations.
“Please also, have a conversation with any CEO of any commercial bank about the workings of BoU Bank Supervision Directorate and relate it to the (our) committee report” he assured him.
To prove that his BoU report was full of substance, the Bugweri county MP also asked Ssenyonyi to know that due to his good work, he was later appointed to head a vital committee that advised the president on key reforms in the Central Bank.
“You may wish to know that arising from that process, I, as chair was appointed to chair the Presidential Tripartite committee involving the IGG and Ministry of Finance to advise him on necessary reforms at BOU. That report has informed many decisions taken” he said adding that Ssenyonyi needs to understand that the Central Bank requires sober minds to be handled not populism.
“A central Bank is a delicate institution and cannot be run on a populist basis on social media. I have taken the liberty to answer you because I was in charge of that process and I’m extremely proud of the work my colleagues and I did” he told him.
Meanwhile, the speaker this morning received the new AG reports for the year ended June 2022 in what seems to be a new lease of life to Cosase to continue working.