Uganda’s Information Minister has dismissed ongoing attempts by seven members of parliament seeking to impeach President Yoweri Museveni over allegations of economic crimes.
The lawmakers also accused Museveni of violating the constitution, as well as aiding and abetting financial malfeasance by top officials of the administration. But, Karooro Okurut said the legislators have a right to embark on an impeachment process, but warned it was an exercise in futility, which she said should be ignored.
“They are just seeking to discredit themselves before the electorate and anger that electorate that has just offered the president a landslide victory just barely a year ago. So, this is an aimless walk in the political desert,” said Okurut.
The legislators accuse Museveni of conducting himself in a manner which, they said, has brought the office of the president into hatred, ridicule, contempt and disrepute. They also said Museveni has dishonestly done acts and omissions, which they say is prejudicial and inimical to the economy and Uganda’s security.
The impeachment procedure requires affirmation of a third of Uganda’s 386 lawmakers in parliament for it to progress.
Before signing the document, the seven legislators announced at a news conference that “the undersigned [legislators] do hereby append our signatures fully persuaded that Yoweri Museveni, the President of Uganda, be removed from office on grounds that he has abused his office and willfully violated the oath of allegiance, and the presidential oath, and other provisions of the constitution,” the lawmakers said.
But Okurut dismissed the accusations as untrue. She said Ugandans repose confidence in Museveni and his ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.
Okurut said the legislators are on a cheap publicity mission calculated to embarrass the country’s leader.
The legislators said Museveni disregarded parliamentary resolutions by allowing Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and Internal Affairs Minister Hilary Onek, accused of taking bribes from oil exploration companies, to continue to work in their respective positions.
But, Okurut dismissed the allegations as untrue. She insisted the accused senior ministers are innocent until proven guilty.
“Those who have been found to be culpable have been made to relinquish their offices…so it does not hold water to accuse the president of abetting corruption. It is just ridiculous,” said Okurut. “The problem we have is that, when it is alleged that so and so has done this, they pass judgment without listening to the other side and, really, we cannot allow that. The law of natural justice must be allowed to exist.”