To call my Shs500m reward corruption is the highest level of spite, defiant Mpuuga says

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The former Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LoP) amplified his defiance further, saying he declined the "cowardly call" to resign as a parliamentary Commissioner.

KAMPALA | Mathias Mpuuga has refused to put his head down in the face of a disturbing corruption allegations, instead accusing his political party of "spite" and "malicious mission" against his person.

The former Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LoP) amplified his defiance further, saying he declined the "cowardly call" to resign as a parliamentary Commissioner.

Coming under intense scrutiny for what the National Unity Platform (NUP) party termed as "corruption and abuse of office" after he received a Shs500m 'service reward' from Parliament, Mpuuga said he was being targeted by a "small-group-family interests" being peddled to blur the bigger picture of how the party is being managed without transparency.

"To call any such payments corruption is the highest level of spite, double standards and deliberate misrepresentation to the public and membership of the party on a purely selfish and malicious mission," Mpuuga said in a two-page statement on Friday.

The statement is not dated and bears the hallmark of Parliament's official headed paper rather than that of the NUP party to which he subscribes and appears to be addressing his grievance - even as he signed off as the "NUP Deputy President, Buganda Region".

Mpuuga was dropped from his position as Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LoP) last December and replaced with Joel Ssenyonyi although the party did not conclusively explain the decision.

It emerged this week that just a year into his tenure, Mpuuga attended a meeting in the Speaker's Boardroom on May 6, 2022, and agreed with a decision to reward him with Shs500m and a bodyguard as a one-off payment and on a person-to-holder basis - meaning only to Mpuuga who negotiated it and not the Office of the LoP for reward in posterity.

Each of the three backbench commissioners in his brief tenure also received Shs400 million on taxpayers burden.

But Mpuuga said the decisions of the commission are not personal but collective in nature.

"For anyone to purport to make them personal decisions of an individual is a deliberate, well-crafted malicious campaign designed for character assassination," he said.

The Nyendo-Mukungwe Division MP said 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.

However, there is no indication that the so-called "service reward" was taken to any committee for approval. The meeting in the Speaker's boardroom was signed off as taking immediate effect.

While he conceded that general public has every right and must be encouraged to question the decisions of their leaders at every level, it was not without pulling another trigger to fire back.

The right to subject leaders to scrutiny, he said, should never be exploited by "self-seekers, opportunists and populists to undermine, berate and smear those they consider in unpalatable terms to their brand of politics".

He said there is a deliberate campaign to character assassinate his person. He did not name by whom, even as he claimed "it's well orchestrated and well-funded".

The irony of it all is that the Masaka opposition stalwart instead offered himself as a panacea who is available as ever to help the NUP party get rid any form of corruption from its rank and file.

"I am ready for the worst," he declared, "if it takes this sacrifice to return sanity and common sense to our politics."

The February 29 unsigned NUP statement was posted on the party's official social media handles.

It said Mpuuga had admitted to corruption and abuse of office during a meeting convened by party president Robert Kyagulanyi on Wednesday, February 28.

The statement said the meeting was attended by all deputy presidents, Mpuuga himself being one.

The former LoP made no mention of that meeting nor does he deny admitting to corruption, leaving it to possibilities that he could have merely admitted to receiving "service reward" and left the rest to the party's interpretation.

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