Speaker Among directs Deputy Tayebwa to lead MPs to Lubowa hospital site

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Addressing the issue, Among has now assigned her deputy Thomas Tayebwa to visit the hospital site, putting the government under scrutiny.

KAMPALA | The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, has criticised the blocking of MPs led by Leader of the Opposition Joel Ssenyonyi from visiting the construction site of Lubowa Hospital.

Despite Parliament allocating Shs2.7 billion to the Ministry of Health for supervision works at the facility, security personnel guarding the premises denied access to Ssenyonyi and his team during their attempted visit on Monday.

In response, additional military personnel was deployed to reinforce the denial of entry.

Ssenyonyi, in light of this incident, reiterated the long-standing claims that the construction of Lubowa Hospital is a sham.

He emphasises the lack of tangible progress despite the substantial amount of money invested in the project.

"There is nothing to show for all the money spent; that's why they couldn't let us in," Ssenyonyi emphasised.

Addressing the issue, Among has now assigned her deputy Thomas Tayebwa to visit the hospital site, putting the government under scrutiny.

"We are not asking for too much; in fact, we are helping you. I reviewed the Minister of Health's letter to the Leader of the Opposition, and all it said was 'good luck.' What does that mean?" she questioned.

"I am going to assign my Deputy Speaker to go to Lubowa with MPs, inspect the site, and provide us with a report."

Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka was questioned about whether oversight is still a constitutional duty of Parliament.

"The last time I checked, oversight was still in the statute book; the oversight role of Parliament still exists," he responded.

MP Margaret Rwabushaija remained unmoved, citing safety concerns for legislators visiting the hospital site.

"They are sealing it off, and nobody should go there because it is a ghost. The presence of armed personnel while our members are unarmed is threatening. One day, we might witness our people being shot," she said.

The third Deputy Prime Minister, Rukia Nakadama, promised decisive action and said she would coordinate with the Ministry of Health to get to the bottom of the matter.

"I will thoroughly investigate this matter with the Ministry of Health so that members can visit that area," she assured.

However, Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju downplayed Nakadama's position, stating that the Ministry of Health has failed to supervise the hospital construction and has instead relinquished its role to the Office of the Prime Minister.

"I am now shocked that the Prime Minister said she is going to consult the Minister of Health," Ssemujju said.

"The Auditor General reported that payments are being made for work that hasn't even been certified, amounting to $70 million. This project was supposed to be completed within 48 months," he added.

Emmanuel Ongiertho, MP Jonam County, urged the government to clarify whether MPs should maintain any interest in the hospital.

"Is this facility even being constructed? If we must forget about it, then let's forget about it," he suggested.

At the site on Monday, Ssenyonyi and his group of Opposition legislators were told by security to seek approval from "Madam" or the IGP to visit the site.

The Madam is Enrica Pinetti, an Italian investor who has been cited in several local deals, including coffee marketing.

She continues to enjoy unbridled privileges even as the shadow of shady accountability issues threaten to swallow who she really is.

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