By DOREEN ASASIRA
KAMPALA, Uganda |[SHIFTMEDIA NEWS] The Bardege-Layibi Division Member of Parliament, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi has resigned from his position as chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee-PAC Local Government.
The Chief Opposition Whip John Nambehe immediately designated Gilbert Olanya as the new Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (Local Government) .
Mapenduzi’s resignation was communicated by Speaker Anita Among during Tuesday’s plenary sitting.
“I got a resignation letter from the Chairperson of PAC-Local Government, Hon. Mapenduzi. We acknowledge his resignation and accept it,” said the Speaker in part.
She however noted that Mapenduzi still has committee reports to present and that he should be able to do so since the reports of the House and not his individual reports.
“He should present those reports much as he has resigned and we will let him go to wherever he wants to go. Hon. Members, you don’t force somebody to be where he doesn’t want to be, so you let him go,” Speaker Among added after the House responded in approval of Mapenduzi’s resignation.
This follows developments in August last year when the Speaker declined the re-designation of Mapenduzi by the opposition, as chairperson of PAC- Local Government.
This was after the Leader of Opposition, Mathias Mpuuga reshuffled some members of the Shadow Cabinet including the re-designation of Kilak South MP, Gilbert Olanya to replace Mapenduzi as the next Chairperson of PAC- Local Government.
The Speaker then explained that the committee under Mapenduzi’s leadership was yet to finalize a crucial report on their findings following the Auditor General’s report for the financial year 2020/2021. She declined the re-designation and directed a formal motion for the re-designation of Mapenduzi which would then be subjected to voting in the House.
However, Mpuuga disputed the Speaker’s directive arguing that different political parties through their whips have the discretion to re-designate their members in pursuance of the principles of multi-party dispensation in the country.
Section 196 of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament state that a Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson of a Committee may be re-designated at any time of his or her tenure by the relevant whip, with the approval of the House.
Mapenduzi contested under the Independent ticket for the Bardege-Layibi Division seat in Gulu City after he denounced the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party. He was appointed to the position by the main Opposition Party in Parliament – the National Unity Platform (NUP) on May 28th, 2021.
However, in February 2022, Mapenduzi locked horns with the leadership of NUP, after he filed a motion to censure Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake from his position as a Parliamentary Commissioner, for insulting the integrity of the Speaker.
The censure motion was successful and MP Zaake petitioned the court about the process.