Parliament is divided over the proposal to buy a house for the family of Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, the late governor of the Bank of Uganda.
The Bukooli Central MP, Solomon Silwany tabled the proposal on the floor of parliament as the House debated a motion by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, to pay tribute to the longest-serving BoU Governor.
Mutebile, 72, succumbed to diabetes and related complications on January Sunday 23rd, 2022 at Nairobi Hospital in Kenya where he was admitted on December 31, 2021.
The former governor has been in and out of the hospital in recent years mainly in Uganda and India due to diabetic-related sicknesses, which led to his kidney failure.
Mutebile, a seasoned economist served as Governor and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Uganda from 2001.
He had just started a new term of office following his reappointment in 2021. He previously served as secretary to the treasury from 1992 to 2001 when he was appointed governor.
In his proposal, Silwany, who doubles as a Parliamentary Commissioner suggested an amendment to Nabbanja’s motion, saying that government or BoU gets an appropriate property for the family of the late Mutebile.
The late governor has been occupying his official residence in Kololo while his upcountry home is in Kabale.
“This property or home should be for the family led by the widow. It is known knowledge that the late Professor was a very honest man and by the fact that he was Governor Bank of Uganda for a very long time, as we talk today, the family may not have where to go,” said Silwany.
He explained that Mutebile did not amass a lot of wealth like other people who would take advantage of their positions like being a Governor.
When the Deputy Speaker, Anita Among asked whether the amendment by Silwany was seconded, a section of legislators from mainly the Opposition responded in the negative.
This prompted her to inform the House that she attended a vigil at the official residence of the late Governor on Wednesday in Kololo where the widow hinted on having no home.
Barnabas Tinkasimire, the Buyaga West MP then took to the floor and expressed support for Silwany’s proposal.
He justified his decision, saying that he had visited the late Governor in June last year and he learnt that the Kololo home is only the official residence provided by the Central Bank.
Robinah Nabbanja, the Prime Minister said that she had taken note of the concerns by the MPs and requested parliament to allow her to consult and report back on their next course of action.
Francis Zaake, the Mityana Municipality MP rose on a procedural matter, saying that the motion by Silwany had not been supported by himself or the whole House.
Among then said that the motion can be put to vote if that is what Zaake and the parliamentary commissioner want.
Medard Lubega Sseggona, the Busiro East MP proposed another amendment, saying that the government follows up as per the undertaking of the Prime Minister promise and report to back parliament in subsequent sittings on the steps taken.
In her motion, Nabbanja described Mutebile as a distinguished career and a diligent leader who immeasurably served Uganda with dedication and patriotism.
She also commended Mutebile for having participated in shaping the destiny of Uganda through the modernization of Uganda’s financial sector, designing and implementing economic and fiscal reform programs that have restored Uganda’s economy.
Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition, said that the passing of Mutebile marks an end of an era- of someone in that generation who participated in nation and institution-building from the time when over 85% of Ugandans currently in the country were not yet born.
“That distinction falls on a select few who get that rare once-only opportunity to help set up institutions during and after the birth of a nation. Dr. Mutebile was a fortunate man. He was the right man with the right credentials who rose on account of his competence that helped cushion our economy from a state of near-collapse in the early 1990s to one where our people can only try to survive on basics of life,” said Mpuuga.
He however said that the decorated economist has passed on and left behind leaders who are selling the Parish Development Model as a miracle economic transformational tool that will uplift the poor citizens from poverty to prosperity.
The Nyendo-Mukungwe MP appealed to parliament to ensure that senior citizens who have served Uganda with distinguished honor retire honorably and enjoy many more years in retirement.
“This House owes our senior citizens a law that bars men and women who have reached retirement age from continued stress of public service,” Mpuuga said.
He added that the practice of seeking specialized medical care in neighboring countries is very unfair to millions of Uganda citizens who entrusted leaders with the privilege of leadership to fix the broken health system.
A national funeral service for the late Governor is scheduled for Friday at Kololo Independence Grounds followed by burial on Sunday 30th at Rugarama, Kabale.