The Clerk to Parliament, Mr Adolf Mwesige, has called off plenary for this week. He communicated the decision in his July 25, 2022 notice to Members of Parliament.
According to the notice, Parliament will resume the sittings next Tuesday [August 2, 2022] at 2:00 pm.
“You will recall that at the 11th sitting of Parliament held on Thursday July 21, 2022, the Right Honorable Speaker adjourned the House to Tuesday July 26 at 2:00 pm. This is to inform you that the plenary sitting for tomorrow (July 26, 2022) has been called off. Plenary sittings will resume on Tuesday, August 2,” reads the notice.
The notice came shortly after the Clerk to Parliament released the Order Paper for today’s sitting with a motion for a resolution of parliament urging the government to provide a monthly payment to the village health teams (VHTs), as an incentive for their role in the healthcare delivery system in Uganda and several responses by Ministers to urgent questions raised by MPs.
The Order Paper was, however, was silent on the motion by the Leader of Opposition, Mr Mathias Mpuuga, for which he issued notice to the Speaker, seeking to challenge the vote taken on Thursday last week that approved the government purchase of preference shares worth Shs202 billion in Roko Construction Limited.
The motion seen by this reporter says the decision by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Thomas Tayebwa, to put a vote on the government proposal contravened the rules of procedure.
The Opposition demands among others, a report from the Minister of Finance as directed earlier by the Speaker Ms Anita Among, detailing action taken and measures put in place on whether to give a loan or grant to Roko.
The Opposition also want the House to vote on both the majority and minority reports of Parliament’s finance committee on the proposal and that the question be properly put on whether the House should approve or disapprove the proposal by the government.
The Opposition MPs in their caucus meeting last Friday resolved that if their petition and motion, which they had sought to table before the House today fail, a five-member team of lawyers would take up the matter and pursue a court process.
Some of the lawyers on the team are Mawokota South MP, Mr Yusuf Nsibambi, Mukono North MP, Mr Abdallah Kiwanuka, Mukono Woman MP, Mr Hanifa Nabukeera, and Kyadondo East MP Mr Nkunyingi Muwada.
A vote on the proposed government purchase of preference shares in Roko was made on Thursday amidst uproar in Parliament as a section of opposition MPs raised objections. The Deputy Speaker had told MPs that Roko would cease operations if the government proposal for the purchase of 150,000 preference shares had not been approved.
The same approval had been delayed on Wednesday awaiting a report on actions and measures taken by the Finance Minister from concerns raised earlier by the Finance Committee, a minority report, and MPs.
In his report to the House, the finance committee chairperson, Mr Kefa Kiwanuka recommended that Roko should be expeditiously audited, as a condition of signing the Share Subscription Agreement by the Auditor General to particularly look at and certify the material assets, debtors, creditors, governance, and management.
He also highlighted inadequate and insufficient due diligence by the government noting that the Uganda Development Corporation (UDC), which was requested in November 2019 to initiate the process of acquiring equity in Roko through the necessary valuation of the Company was not allocated funds to do so.
Butambala County MP, Mr Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi noted, who is also the Shadow Minister for Finance, noted in his minority report, that due to failure to undertake due diligence, Roko Construction Limited and FINASI had in the recent past entered an agreement with the government to construct a specialized hospital in Lubowa, a project which never took off.
The minority report further recommends that government should acquire 51 per cent of the ordinary shares of Roko Construction Limited as a condition for the acquisition of preference shares.