Leader of Opposition in Parliament Joel Ssenyonyi asked Speaker Among to recall Parliament to address the corruption allegations

The leader of opposition in Parliament Joel Ssenyonyi has vowed not to back down on executing his mandate of checking the government despite the frustrations towards his office.

Ssenyonyi revealed this after writing a letter to the speaker of Parliament Annet Anita Among over what he calls the clandestine operations of the Parliamentary Commission.

The Nakawa West MP says based on reliable information the parliamentary commission has held meetings without inviting him.

This is not the first time Ssenyonyi has raised this matter. On more than two occasions, Ssenyonyi told reporters that ever since he was appointed Leader of opposition in Parliament, he has not been invited for any of several parliamentary commission meetings held yet he is a member and it is this committee that determines the parliamentary budget and the operations of parliament.

When he first raised the matter with the speaker Anita Among, the response from the speaker was that the matter would be managed.

“Did the commission meet to approve the parliamentary budget for 2024/2025, if so why is it as the leader of opposition I was never invited, is there something that the commission is hiding from some of its members like myself, are they keeping me out of parliamentary commission meetings because I ask too many questions and yes I will ask those questions because that is my duty , my duty is to keep government in check , I am a full member of the commission, it is important that I get to know some of the happenings”-Ssenyonyi.

Unconfirmed reports within the parliamentary corridors indicate that there plans of further cutting the budget for the leader of opposition to further frustrate Ssenyonyi’s operations as the LOP. To date, Ssenyonyi’s office has never recruited and filled the vacant position of the staff required.

When asked how he feels about the ongoing summons of MPs and sanctions of some leaders in relation to corruption allegations, Ssenyonyi challenged all religious and cultural leaders to come out openly and vehemently pronounce themselves on corruption related issues in parliament.

This call also comes at time when MP Mathias Mpuuga who is accused of having irregularly received a 500-million-shilling service award as commissioner of parliament, is organising to have a thanksgiving ceremony scheduled for 21st later this month in Masaka.

Calling on the public to speak out on the outrageous corrupt tendencies, Ssenyonyi said the clergy as spiritual heads have a fundamental role to play in ensuring morality in society.

Ssenyonyi expressed delight that the members of the general public have come out to condemn the corruption tendencies by their leaders in parliament, saying these must be supported by the civil society organisations, religious leaders/ cultural leaders.

He adds that this is very important because what happens here in parliament affects everyone whether they like it or not.

“I would like to appeal to Religious leaders some of the MPS here normally come to before you, they attend functions in churches, you give them front seats, invite them as chief guest, okay partly you want them to contribute to your churches, mosques and different projects but as they you money put these issues to them because they listen to you as religious leaders do not just be happy to receive cars from them and money and the you say I will not question this person otherwise they will not bring more money -otherwise you are part of the problem”-Ssenyonyi.

On the recent arrests of Lawmakers

On the summons regarding the 10 government officials including legislators, Ssenyonyi denied having information that these include opposition members of parliament.

He added that officials regardless of their party affiliations summoned for involvement in corruption tendencies must face the law.

Meanwhile, a section of Members of parliament in the opposition have cast doubt over President Yoweri Museveni’s recent pronouncements regarding the fight against corruption.

Responding to President Museveni’s remarks during the state of Nation Address followed by the recent arrests of the members of parliament in relation to corruption allegations, some lawmakers say that this is a move intended to hoodwink Ugandans that the regime has political will to fight graft.

Referring to the Iron sheets scandal in the Prime Minister’s Office, the Nakaseke South Member of Parliament Lutamaguzi Ssemakula says that the move by President Museveni should not excite Ugandans because there will be no logical conclusion even after these recent arrests just like it has been in previous corruption cases involving government officials.

Speaking shortly after signing a petition intended to censure the four backbench commissioners of parliament that received the service Award, Manjiya County MP John Baptist Nambeshe said that President Museveni is only responding to pressure from the Western powers but has no political will to fight graft.

He is reacting to the international pressure given that he had failed to demonstrate political will on the fight against corruption almost 40 years down.

“ if you are to compare him with the late John Pomba Magufuli of Tanzania who demonstrated political will in the fight against corruption in just a 5-year presidential term to President Museveni’s almost 40 year who has only waited for the international community to make noise, slapping sanctions on our owner leaders in the name of corruption could be a reaction”-Nambeshe.

The opposition chief whip also wonders whether the President has given a chance to the relevant institutions ( i.e. IGG) to do its work to investigate allegations and prosecute the corruption suspects.

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