Lawmakers yesterday tabled a key motion in the House demanding that the two ministers overseeing the Karamaja docket resign with immediate effect so as to allow proper investigations into the allegations of mismanagement of relief items meant for vulnerable people in the sub-region.
While yesterday tabling a motion for a resolution of Parliament to inquire into the alleged mismanagement of relief items under the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Mr Achia Remigio (Pian County), the chairperson of Karamoja Parliamentary Group resolved that the ministers resign with immediate effect.
“Now therefore be it resolved that Parliament through its relevant committee inquiries into the alleged mismanagement of relief items in the Office of the Prime Minister and that the Minister of Karamoja Affairs;
Dr. Mary Goretti Kitutu and the minister of State for Karamoja Affairs, Agnes Nandutu do resign, because we have waited for them to step aside, do resign to allow proper investigations into the matter.”
Among the items the ministers are accused of mismanaging are goats, iron sheets and maize which Mr Remigio said amount to abuse of office, misconduct, misbehaviour, corruption, diversion of public resources and breach of the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Minister.
Ms Faith Nakut (Napak District), the seconder of the motion, said the matter tested legislators’ willingness to fight corruption and how far they could go as Parliament in exercising their job of oversight on the excesses of government.
“The intended beneficiaries were the Karuchunas, those who were going to give up criminality. The Office of the Prime Minister went ahead to procure these things and supplied goats and the majority died not because they were sick but because they were supplied without following the normal procedure[s],” Ms Nakut said, adding, “As if that was not enough, the minister responsible for Karamoja, the one in-charge of this assignment decided to gift people who were not on the beneficiaries list the iron sheets. It was as if she was not done with the goats, the malice on them, destroying the livelihood of our people.”
Discussion was not allowed on the motion as the Presidential Affairs Committee is already conducting a probe on the matter.
“We will not allow time for this debate [rather] I am referring this report to the committee who will report back in two weeks’ time,” Speaker Anita Among said, adding, “Honourable members, whoever has an issue to raise will go the committee to present [it].”
Ms Kitutu last Friday made an apology before the committee stating that inconveniences and embarrassments caused is highly regretted.”
“Without proper guidance, some iron sheets meant for Karamoja region were given outside the region in response to requests. This could have been an oversight but now that guidance has been given, this will not recur,” she told the probe, adding “I pray that you and all Ugandans accept my sincere apology.”
When asked Dr Kitutu whether she was considering resigning, she declined to comment.
On her part, Ms Nandutu admitted to the committee that she received 2,000 iron sheets from Dr Kitutu.
The iron sheets, according to Ms Nandutu, have not been used yet. On this matter, the minister concluded that she would take on the advise of the committee to see what to do next with them.