Voter Questions Independent MPs Loyalty in Petition

Higher Education Minister John Chrysostom is one of the Ministers likely to be affected

Independent Members of Parliament who were appointed Ministers stand to lose their seats following a constitutional petition from one of the voters in their constituencies.

John Chrysostom Muyingo, Bunanika MP

The voter is seeking court’s intervention to declare their seats vacant saying that they were voted as independent MPs but they went ahead to accept government’s appointments as Ministers without consulting with the electorate.

The voter argues that the Ministers are serving a political party that did not bring them to Parliament.

Some of the Independent MPs serving as Ministers in the National Resistance Movement (NRM) are John Chrysostom Muyingo MP for Bamunanika County and State Minister for Higher Education, Asuman Kiyingi MP for Bugabula County South and State Minister for Regional Affairs, Onzima Alex Adroa MP for Maracha County and State Minister for Local Government.

State Minister for Local Government and an Independent MP for Maracha County Onzima Alex, said that he is not yet aware of the petition and that court has not yet served him.

But Onzima sees no merit in the petition arguing that he is serving the people of Uganda and not the NRM government in his ministerial position.

Onzima questioned the law which prohibits an independent Member of Parliament from Serving as a Minister under the NRM government.

He added that if the voter thinks that independent MPs serving as Ministers are against the electorate that elected them in Parliament is wrong.

Efforts to get to the other independent Ministers including Minister Asuman Kiyingi and Minister John Muyingo were futile as their contacts were off and never appeared for the plenary session as well.

The leader of Independent MPs Sam Otada noted that he was aware of the petition and supported the voter saying that when a member enters parliament on an independent ticket and later crosses over and serves in the ruling government it is betrayal of the electorate that elected the MP.

In 2010 a member of parliament Isha Otto of Oyam South took 22 MPs to the constitutional court seeking for a constitutional redress why the MPs had contested in the primaries of other political parties.

The sued MPs then who were sued for failing to vacate their seats in parliament after they contested in the primaries of other political parties denied de-camping to the said parties.

Attorney General Peter Nyombi then told Isha Otto that according to his petition, nobody had crossed from independent member joining any party and that it was upon a MP to declare that he or she had crossed through a formal writing to a speaker but without that there would be no evidence to show that the member had crossed.

Otto was then basing his petition on article 83 of the Constitution of Uganda which provides for Tenure of Office of Members of Parliament.

He was asking why the MPs had not relinquished their positions as MPs.

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