Mpuuga clearly breached Leadership Code in awarding himself Shs500m

Opinions
Mpuuga clearly breached Leadership Code in awarding himself Shs500m
Edward Baliddawa

It sounds intellectually dishonest for Mpuuga to continue peddling his innocence in the face of what the provisions of the Leadership Code say.

By Edward Baliddawa

Seemingly, Mathias Mpuuga and Abed Bwanika are counting on the Church in Masaka and the Mengo establishment's support as they attempt to navigate through the current leadership credibility crisis that has befallen both of them following the revelation of the so-called "service award" and the manner it was decreed.

We have to see how things will play out but based on quick simple analysis, the Church in Masaka and the Mengo establishment may see a revolt against them if they don't handle the Mpuuga and Bwanika issue properly.

As the Katikkiro has always emphasized to the Buganda monarchy loyalists that "Ffeena tuli Baana ba Kabaka" (we are all children of the Kabaka with equal favour), it therefore means that no child of Kabaka should enjoy extra or special favour when it comes to the need for being reprimanded if anyone his children is found to have erred.

If Mengo and Katikkiro do always mean what they say about their detest for corruption and abuse of office plus swindling of public resources, and if they also agree that for one to partake of taxpayers money which is a charge from the national consolidated fund there must be an enabling law under which such a draw charge of the money can be made, then the two beloved institutions must not find it difficult at all to stand out and publicly condemn what our brother Mpuuga indulged in when he - together with the other three Parliamentary Commissioners -  sat in a meeting to decree for himself Shs500 million.

The Katikkiro ought to be sensitive to the outcry of concern from the people and their indignation about the act of taking tax payers money so casually like that and then the elitist arrogance with which Mpuuga has handled the matter.

No amount of sought solidarity from the Mengo establishment or the clergy in the Masaka Diocese aimed at watering down or trivializing the heist at Parliament abetted by Mpuuga will sanitise him before and in the hearts of the ordinary Ugandans who know that 500mn is indeed a very big sum of money for an individual and yet they also know that already MPs of Uganda like Mathias Mpuuga are overly paid with no tangible show for such hefty payments.

The two institutions, the Mengo and the Church in Masaka are very key in trying to give Ugandans hope that those who occupy and lead these institutions are still on the side of the ordinary people. It is time for the Ugandans to see who walks the talk!

Legally, it is however becoming baffling to many Ugandans to see that Mpuuga who is supposed to be a seasoned lawyer who must be very familiar with the tenets of the Leadership Code and its relevant provisions in regard to the issue of Conflict of Interest, to date hasn't found it humbling in his intellectual and professional heart that his actions violated Section 12A of the Leadership Code!

It sounds intellectually dishonest for Mpuuga to continue peddling his innocence in the face of what the provisions of the Leadership Code say.

Even if he has issues with the manner in which his party reportedly handled his issue of receiving the 500mn in pretext of a service award, the learned lawyer ought to appreciate the fact all of us public leaders just like the Civil Servants, we are all bound without exception to observe diligently the Leadership Code.

Section 12A of the Leadership Code stipulates as follows:

(1) "A leader who, in the course of his or her official duties, deals with a matter in which he or she or his or her immediate family has a direct or indirect interest or is in a position to influence the matter directly or indirectly and who knowingly, fails to disclose the nature of that interest and votes or participates in the proceedings of a public body, board, council , commission or committee, commits a breach of this Code."

According to this section and it's interpretation, there is no doubt that Hon. Mathias Mpuuga committed a breach of the Leadership Code.

What should be baffling is to the reason why he is not being persued by those who are mandated to enforce the Leadership Code!

It will be a travesty if the much touted Leadership Code in which a huge chunk of tax payer's money has been sunk so far since it was conceived, is undermined by not enforcing any breaches when noticed.

Instead of spinning his head in trying to translate his rebuttals to his so called suspension from the party by his leaders into all Ugandan tribal languages our colleagues should be advised to spend more time explaining to Ugandans across the country why he had to violate one of the cardinal provisions of the Leadership Code and as to why he shouldn't face its sanctions.

The case of Mpuuga presents a challenge of precedence for the Office of the IGG and the Leadership Code Tribunal.

It is going to be seen if breaches of the Leadership Code in regard to the principle of conflict of interest while in public office is going to be glossed over and hence make it okay and with no sanctions.

The learned lawyers ought to be helpful not only to us the non legal people but also to themselves in being able to properly interpret the laws that do govern us as law abiding citizens of the Republic.

There can never be different laws for us the none legal people and different legal dispensation for the legal people. The tenets of democracy dictate that we must all be equal under the law.

The public will be watching closely to see how this plays out, well knowing that actually the credibility of our institutions greatly depends on the public perception of these institutions.

_______________________________________________________

Mr Edward Baliddawa is former MP for Kiggulu North in Iganga District

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