Uganda: Civil Society Backs MPs On Oil Deals Resolutions
Source: All Africa
Author: Mercy Nalugo
Date: 26th October 2011
Civil society yesterday backed efforts by independent minded MPs to demand for accountability in the oil sector despite what they called a conspiracy by a faction of the ruling party to reverse the parliamentary position.
The group also demanded that Parliament stands bold on its resolutions passed two weeks ago as they threatened to sue government for its failure to safeguard what they called the independence of Parliament.
The Civil Society Coalition on oil, Publish What You Pay and the Oil Watch Network, in a joint press conference held in Kampala criticised manoeuvres by the President and theNRM Caucus to reverse the parliamentary decisions, saying they should not abdicate their oversight role.
“We are particularly concerned that it is our President who is leading the charge to undermine the work of Parliament by conspiring with the NRM Caucus to oust the authority and the legislative mandate of our Parliament,” said Mr Godber Tumushabe, the executive director of Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), who read out the statement.
Parliament recently passed resolutions among others imploring the ministers implicated in the oil deals to step aside and allow investigations into allegations that they received bribes in millions of dollars from an oil firm. Parliament also asked government to cease transacting in the sector until all the enabling oil laws are put in place to give effect to the National Oil and Gas Policy for purposes of enhancing transparency and accountability.
President Museveni during a retreat in Kyankwanzi, last week, allegedly asked the caucus to disregard some of the resolutions, forcing some MPs to walk out on him.
“We do recognise the right of all political parties to organise around their caucuses, [but] we have no doubt in our minds that our national interests supercede those of narrow and short term interests of those parties and their leaders,” Mr Tumushabe said.
The officials commended the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga for her unwavering stance during the Parliament special debates on oil. Ms Kadaga on Monday said political party resolutions cannot challenge resolutions of the House and that she still stands by the resolutions made.
Mr Frank Muramuzi, the executive director of National Association of Professional Environmentalists, wondered where the NRM Caucus derives the mandate to purport to rescind decisions and resolutions passed by Parliament.
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