For the last couple of weeks, the nation has witnessed a standoff between the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga and the leading opposition party, FDC, over the extension of the tenure of the leadership of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises(COSASE) for another one month.
The Committee is currently chaired by Bugweri MP, Abdu Katuntu and deputised by MP Anita Among whose tenure expires on January 13. But the Speaker argues that their term should be extended up to February 20, to enable them complete a probe on the closure of 7 commercial banks by Bank of Uganda.
FDC has already appointed Kawempe South lawmaker, Mubarak Munyagwa and MP Kasibante Moses to succeed Katuntu and Among respectively, and the party leadership isnsusts that the new appointees should assume leadership henceforth, something Kadaga says risks jeopardizing the investigation process.
On Tuesday, before the probe resumed on BoU, incoming Vice Chairperson, Kasibante Moses, who is also a member of the Committee, tasked Katuntu to pronounce himself on whether it is legally binding for their tenure to be extended.
“The matter has been on surface that you went and asked for the extension and the worry is about the legality of that extension,” Kasibante said.
“So, I think that is where you would come in and correct that impression because what is being worried upon is whether it is within the Rules of Procedure for leadership of the Committee to be extended beyond its term of office,” Kasibante said.
In response, Katuntu said that the decision to extend the term of the committee is for the Speaker and even if she is to do it, she has to do it within the confines of the rules of procedure.
But Kasibante went ahead to ask: “It was the Speaker in her own chair who said that you as our leaders went and asked for the extension, it is not something to do with social media. So, we can just address ourselves on the issue whether we have the mandate within the rules of procedure to extend ourselves”
“We should give confidence to the public and say that the term expires on January 13 and that is when we end as members of this committee,” he added.
Katuntu instead dismissed claims that he asked for the extension of the tenure of the committee leadership.
“It is also not true that we went to the Speaker to seek for an extension, I want to put this on record. What happened is, I went to the Speaker and briefed her as the head of this institution on how far we have gone. She asked whether it was possible to complete this work before the term expires,” Katuntu explained
“I explained to the Speaker that it is not possible, the Speaker suggested then that she will engage the leadership of the opposition and they see a way forward,” he added
Katuntu said that he is not part of the process of engagement and that he hopes the speaker will communicate the outcome of her engagement with the opposition to the House.