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Mpuuga Rules Out Resignation; Blasts NUP ‘Family Intrigue’

The former Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mathias Mpuuga, has said he will not resign as Commissioner of Parliament as demanded by the National Unity Platform, saying he is a victim of a political witch hunt by his party members.

“I accordingly decline the cowardly call on me to resign as a parliamentary commissioner, based on spite, envy, and deliberate misrepresentation,” said Mpuuga in a bold statement issued on Friday.

Mpuuga said he would not be deterred by a clique of family members in the party—a veiled reference to NUP President Robert Kyagulanyi and his close relatives.

“I wish to assure the general membership of the NUP and all change-seeking forces that… I cannot be deterred by small-group family interests being peddled to blur the bigger picture of how the party is being managed without transparency,” said Mpuuga.

He added, “I will not stop raising important questions about the actions, motivation, and direction of different actors in the party, even in the face of the current tribulations, well-choreographed to undermine and depict me as unfit to lead.”

NUP, for which Mpuuga serves as deputy party president, asked him to resign as a Commissioner of Parliament for taking part in the design of a controversial financial scheme in which he pocketed a staggering Shs 500 million of taxpayers’ money.

The ‘service award’ was passed during a meeting of the Parliamentary Commission held on May 6, 2022, in the Speaker’s boardroom at the Parliament Building.

Mpuuga was among those who attended the meeting, which resolved to grant a ‘one-time pay-off service award of Shs 500m for the Leader of Opposition’ and another pay-off of Shs 400m to the backbench Parliament commissioners.

NUP said Mpuuga appeared on Wednesday before a meeting of senior leaders of the party, including all deputy presidents, convened by party leader Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine.

“At the meeting, Rt. Hon. Mpuuga admitted that he indeed took part in this wrongdoing and apologized for the same,” said NUP in a statement on Thursday.

“In light of this, he was strongly advised that the moral thing to do in the circumstances is to step down from his role as Parliamentary Commissioner with immediate effect.”

Mpuuga fires back.

However, Mpuuga, in a direct challenge of NUP’s top leadership, today said that the call for his resignation was “based on falsehoods and terrible misapprehension of facts, including basic ones.”

He also described the meeting of party leaders that pressured him to quit as “an informal conversation.”

He said the duties and roles of the Parliamentary Commission are well stipulated in the laws of the land, including voting funds for all political offices, including the LOP’s office.

“It takes care of the welfare of ordinary members and their leaders in Parliament, including determining the range of legally permissible payments, which may be salary, allowances, gratuity, honoraria, and car grants, among others,” he elaborated.

“Every decision of the Commission to confer or reward anyone under its charge is subjected to the relevant committees of Parliament for legality, feasibility, sustainability, and relevancy. To call any such payment corruption is the highest level of spite, double standards, and deliberate misrepresentation to the public and membership in the party on a purely selfish mission,” said Mpuuga.

“If such payments amounted to corruption, all current and previous MPs would be compelled to refund to the public coffers monies paid as gratuity or honoraria since no MP, current or previous, was not paid gratuity at the determination of the parliamentary commission.”

While Mpuuga seeks to defend the manner in which the service award was determined, Ugandans see the huge sum of money dished out to him and the commissioners as unacceptable.

On the X platform, one Aaron Nze observed: “I think our Parliament just has too much money; they just run out of names for expenditure lines, but there is plenty of money to waste. Then the realization that there is no opposition when it comes to money.”

Nevertheless, Mpuuga said the general public has every right to question the decisions of their leaders at every level.

“This right should never be exploited by self-seekers, opportunists, and populists to undermine, berate, and smear those they consider unpalatable in their brand of politics,” he observed.

“The campaign to character assassinate me is deliberate, and I am perfectly aware. It’s well orchestrated and well-funded. I am ready for the worst if it takes this sacrifice to return sanity and common sense to our politics. I am available as ever to help this young party rid any form of corruption from its rank and file, especially that ingrained at the base of the party,” said Mpuuga.

The revelations also blow the lid off the growing internal rift between Mpuuga and NUP leader Robert Kaygulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, and the latter’s close associates.

Mpuuga said the “general public is aware and alive to the internal intrigue and machinations unfortunately within this young party over the last 2½ years, during my occupation of the coveted office of the LOP.”

He said, “It became the official style of different party leaders to undermine my work, including the hiring of bloggers to abuse and insult my person. I stayed committed and calm throughout these most compelling times because the call to serve above self remained my creed.”

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