Parliament to Discipline Bobi Wine over COVID-19 Cash

Angered by Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine’s reference to the Shs 20 million doled out to facilitate MPs in the fight against coronavirus disease, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has directed the Rules and Privileges Committee to institute disciplinary proceedings against the legislator.

Bobi Wine is among the few MPs that have returned to Parliament the money on grounds that it was irregularly paid out to the MPs. On his funds transfer form, the presidential aspirant wrote ‘bribery’ as the reason for transferring the money from his Absa bank account to the Parliamentary Commission – NTR account in Bank of Uganda.

He later posted the funds transfer form on his social media platforms which allegedly put Parliament into disrepute.

“Hon Kyagulanyi, after making the statement, he will go to the Rules [and Priviledges] committee for bringing the House into disrepute,” Kadaga said, also threatening to take action against other MPs who have continued to speak against the cash payout.

Kadaga took the decision following a statement by Bunyole West MP James Waluswaka who demanded that Kyagulanyi gives Parliament an explanation as to why he branded as a bribe, the Covid-19 cash given to the MPs. 

“People think that this House can be bribed to carry out its mandate. Hon Kyagulanyi should be asked to explain,” Waluswaka said.

 The money was part of the Shs 10 billion allocated to Parliament under the Covid-19 supplementary budget request the government made to finance its Covid-19 response program.

Amid the controversy on the exact role MPs are going to play when the country is on lockdown, a section of MPs has since signed transfer forms with their banks returning the funds to the Parliamentary Commission account saying that it is morally wrong to receive the money during the crisis. 

 Waluswaka also demanded that Trade, Industry and Co-operatives minister, Amelia Kyambadde should explain why she persuaded a TV journalist to ask her about the money.

A video clip of the minister asking Simon Kaggwa Njalwa, the host of NBS TV’s Morning Breeze to seek her view over the cash payout went viral on Thursday moments after she had been hosted on the TV talk show.

 Waluswaka was supported West Budama South MP Jacob Oboth-Oboth who argued that the matter is critical since it portrays the parliament in a bad light. He also suggested that Parliament finds means of stopping MPs from running to court after losing debate on the floor of the House.

Kadaga agreed, saying that parliament needed to take action against indisciplined MPs.

“I think we need to take action, how can a minister solicit…because I saw the video; “Mbuuza ekibuuzo ky’essente (ask me about the Covid-19 funds)” that is what she said, and then dramatically, she rejects. A minister who comes here and we support her, yesterday we passed her budget, she was not here… to embarrass the House! People will have to answer,” Kadaga said.

On Thursday, Kadaga threatened to action taken against Ntungamo Municipality MP, Gerald Karuhanga and the Erute South counterpart, Jonathan Odur who ran to court and secured an order stopping the Parliamentary Commission from disbursing the money to the legislators.

Additional reporting by Sadab Kitatta

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