Uganda’s Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has directed Attorney General Peter Nyombi to study The Observer with the view of taking legal action against the newspaper.
Richard Todwong, the Minister Without Portfolio who is now Acting Information and National Guidance Minister, says the information attributed to Mbabazi in the newspaper under the headline “Kadaga is in opposition” published on August 8th is not true.
The Observer ran a story indicating that Mbabazi had used a Cabinet meeting that was held on August 7th after the passage of the Public Order Management Bill to label the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga as an opposition sympathizer.
With a warning to journalists to desist from causing tension among leaders and arms of government, Todwong said Thursday that following the publication of the story, PM Mbabazi had made several efforts to speak directly to the Speaker to assure her that he had made no such statements.
However, his efforts to speak to Kadaga were not successful and his request to have the Speaker return his call was not honoured.
Minister Todwong said the Premier directed Attorney General Nyombi to study the publication in view of taking legal action.
When asked why they decided to take action against the Newspaper after Kadaga’s pronouncement in Parliament, Todwong said they were not sure the alleged utterances were serious enough to annoy Kadaga.
Richard M. Kavuma, the Observer News Editor when contacted said the newspaper stands by the story, noting that he expected that kind of response from the government.
On Tuesday this week, in her communication to the house in regard to the Prime Minister’s comments, Kadaga said government should acknowledge that they consciously took a decision to go multi party.
The Speaker said she took oath after Members of Parliament voted her to that position and she promised to be a Speaker for everyone, adding that government should understand that she represents all members in the House and accords them fair hearing.
Yesterday, only two junior ministers turned up in Parliament in what appeared to be a planned move to get back at Kadaga. The Speaker was forced to adjourn the plenary session for over 30 minutes all in vain.
Todwong, however explained that cabinet was having a meeting chaired by Mbabazi and that took a little longer because they had a well elaborative agenda to cover. He adds that as they were still debating, the Chief Whip Justine Lumumba communicated to the Speaker that Cabinet was about to end.
According to Todwong, Mbabazi wanted to adjourn Cabinet so that Ministers can attend Parliament but there were issues that had not been resolved.
He denies the absence of the Ministers in plenary was intentional and that by the time Cabinet was adjourned, it was too late for the Ministers to attend Parliament.
However talk is going on in the corridors of Parliament that yesterday’s cabinet meeting also extensively discussed Speaker Kadaga’s conduct. Mbabazi also reportedly instituted a committee to investigate Kadaga’s conduct.
When asked if it is true, Todwong denied, but he had earlier stated that at the Cabinet meeting of August 14th the Prime Minister had raised concern in his opening statement to Cabinet.