MPs turn away proposed oil sector leaders

The House Appointments Committee chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on Monday sent away individuals President Museveni has nominated to run key institutions in the oil sector as rumblings about unfairness and regional imbalance were again heard.

The latest Presidential nominees to the boards of the National Petroleum Authority of Uganda (NPAU) and the National Oil Company of Uganda (NOCU) will have to await confirmation in their new jobs as MPs, according to sources who attended the meeting, reportedly protested “unfairness” and “marginalisation of the Muslim community”.

“It’s good that even the members on the vetting committee have seen the marginalisation of Muslims,” said Parliament Imam Latif Ssebaggala (Kawempe North). “It’s disappointing that every time the committee sits to approve presidential appointees to key positions in government, Muslims have to write petitions to the Speaker as if we don’t have any stake in this country.”

No committee member was willing to speak on the record yesterday, telling the Daily Monitor in confidential interviews that Ms Kadaga warned them against divulging any details to the press.

“We have tasked the Speaker to write to the President as soon as possible to explain to us why Muslims are not represented on any of the two boards yet oil is a national resource,” one member said. The new presidential nominees who had turned up for vetting are Dr Immaculate Ssemanda Nakimera, the chair NPAU Mr Reuben Kashambuzi, Ms Doreen Kabasindi Wandera, Mr Kiryowa Kiwanuka, Prof Sunday Steven Tikdori Togboa, and Ms Naomi Lumutenga.

On the NOC are Mr Emmanuel Katongole as chairperson Mr Godfrey Andama, Mr Francis Nagimesi, Ms Biwaga Stella Maris, Ms Irene Pauline Batembe, Ms Grace Tubwita and Mr Francis Twinamatsiko.

Presidential spokesperson Tamale Mirundi yesterday challenged those calling for regional and religious balance to get serious, adding that the government “does not have a policy that marginalises Muslims or any other faith for that matter”.

Presidency responds
“The President has not marginalised Muslims. It’s just that oil is a specialised area. In any case, the President has not sent a Christian High Commissioner to Saudi Arabia. The MPs on the Appointments Committee should get serious,” said Mr Mirundi.

Officially, Ms Kadaga is reported to have informed the nominees who turned up for vetting on Monday that they had submitted their academic credentials late and that members needed time to go through them.
A press statement issued by the Clerk to Parliament, Ms Jane Kibirige, said: “The exercise could not be conducted as scheduled because Parliament only received the curriculum vitae of the nominees on Thursday, July 3, 2014, a date when Parliament did not sit.”

House spokesperson Helen Kawesa said the Speaker will see how to deal with the matter. “We don’t participate in the nomination it’s the preserve of the President. We only receive these names from the President. If the Muslims have complained to the Speaker, she will make a decision accordingly.”

Before suspending the vetting process, the committee jointly met all the 14 nominees and instructed them to return on Friday.

ymugerwa@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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