Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has rejected the appointment of Moses Kasibante, Rubaga North County MP as the Vice Chairperson of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE).
Parliament on Tuesday through party whips embarked on designating MPs to different standing committees in accordance with Rule 155 of the Parliament Rules of Procedure.
During the process, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga through Kabale Municipality MP Andrew Aja Baryayanga designated Kasibante as a member of the committee on Appointments yet the Independent but FDC-leaning MP had late last year been appointed as COSASE vice chairperson awaiting approval of the House and the Speaker who is the whip of all Independent MPs.
At the same time, Opposition Whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda (Kira Municipality) insisted and maintained Kasibante as COSASE vice chair. He further took to the floor on procedural matter requesting Speaker to withdraw Kasibante from the Appointments Committee and allow him serve on COSASE.
However, Kadaga declined to accept Ssemujju’s request and insisted that “Kasibante will remain at the Appointments committee.”
Meanwhile, the outgoing COSASE chairperson Abdu Katuntu has been moved to the committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline and awaits to hand over office at the end of February after a temporary tenure extension to allow them conclude the probe on Bank of Uganda over the closure of 7 defunct Banks.
Reason as to why Kadaga rejected Kasibante’s appointment to COSASE vice chairmanship??
Kasibante was rejected on grounds that he had already been named as a member on another committee (Appointments) by the informal Independent Whip, Andrew Aja Baryayanga of Kabale Municipality.
Apparently, chairpersons and deputy chairpersons are not expected to serve in more than one committee as ruled by the Speaker.
Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa also made several changes in the new COSASE members and among the new entrants include; Violet Akurut (Katakwi), David Abala (Ngora), Muyanja Ssenyonga (Mukono South), Agnes Kunihira (Workers), Judith Babirye (Buikwe), Mwine Mpaka (Western Youth), Bonny Okello (Kole North). Opposition retained only DP’s Medard Sseggona (Busiro East) and appointed Ssemujju, Patrick Ochan (Apac Municipality), Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West), Paul Mwiru (Jinja East) and Mubarak Munyagwa (Kawempe South) who will serve as COSASE chairperson. Other Independent MPs who will serve on COSASE include; Kato Lubwama (Rubaga South) and Muhammed Nsereko (Kampala Central).
Kasibante’s rejection implies that the opposition will have to go back to the drawing board to identify COSASE vice chairperson as mandated by the Rules of Procedure.
Rule 155(1) of the Rules of Procedure states that the Standing Committees of the House shall have tenure of office of two and a half years and a Member may not be a Member of more than one Standing Committee except for Business Committee and the Budget Committee.
Whereas other MPs apply to be in different committees through their party whips, Rule 157 (4) provides that Independent Members shall apply to the Clerk to join Committees of their choice and the Speaker shall accordingly ensure that the Members join the Committees of their choice.