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I’m the Speaker and Katuntu stays as head of Cosase, Kadaga tells Opposition

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PARLIAMENT | Rebecca Kadaga will not listen to any suggestions that Abdu Katuntu should cede a top house oversight committee leadership because “I’m the Speaker of the House.”

Despite a simmering impasse as Opposition and the House tussle it out over leadership of the parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase), Kadaga has stamped her feet; Bugweri County MP Katuntu must serve until probe into Bank of Uganda’s closure of seven commercial banks has dusted that particular business.

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“I am the speaker of the House, I am the head of this institution and my proposal is good for the institution,” Kadaga, who was addressing the media at Parliament on Thursday, said.

The Opposition Forum for Democratic Change nominated Mubarak Munyagwa to take over from Katuntu, who would then be relegated to being a member of the same committee.

However, Katuntu is not willing to relinquish the mantle of Cosase and is known to have petitioned Kadaga’s intervention into the matter.

The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Betty Aol, as well as the Chief Whip, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, have both asked Katuntu and his deputy Anita Among to cede and allow Munyagwa and Moses Kasibante’s team to take over.

MP Aol, in particular, even proposed that Katuntu and Among’s team be constituted into a select committee to continue with the central bank probe, but Kadaga is adamant that the current leadership is required to complete the Bank of Uganda Investigations, report to Parliament and thereafter handover to the new leadership.

“We are not rejecting changes in the leadership of COSASE, we want the current leadership to complete BOU Investigations and make a report to Parliament.”

Kadaga added that other committees’ tenure expires on January 13th.

“Cosase is winding up on the BoU investigation. We expect them to write a report and hand it over to the House before they move,” the Speaker, a member of the ruling NRM party, said.

Kadaga’s decision has left a section of Ugandans wondering whether she is acting within the Rule of Procedure or simply asserting her authority in disregard of the law she is mandated to uphold as the head of the institution of Parliament.

On Twitter, a user @Stevelakes wondered if the Speaker’s action was what the law stipulates.

“We don’t want a scenario at some point that all their efforts are questionable because the law wasn’t followed,” the user said, suggesting that Kadaga’s action could be a precursor for future legal reviews of the authority of Cosase if those Katuntu’s team called culpable for irregular sale of commercial banks sought legal redress.

Hosea Ichol likened Kadaga’s call to that of a government term of office ending but the same leaders asking to be allowed to continue with negotiations on deals they were already engaged in with other parties.

Kadaga’s decision means Katuntu and Among will continue with the dramatic interrogation of central bank officials, past and present, when the House business resumes next week.

The Speaker said the BoU probe is expected to close end of February, by which time Katuntu is expected to have submitted a report to Parliament.

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