The Deputy Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah has blocked an attempt by Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) to remove Prof. Ogenga Latigo from the Pan African Parliament.
Oulanyah said there is no rule the academic turned politician has contravened to warrant his unceremonious eviction.
The Deputy Speaker’s decision followed a question raised by FDC Secretary General, Nandala Mafabi, who wondered how Kabula County MP, James Kakooza sneaked into the Pan African Parliament yet when FDC asked Latigo to relinquish his seat for William Nzoghu, he (Latigo) defied the request, arguing that his tenure at the African Union lasts for five years and FDC has no choice but wait until the five years elapse.
“As FDC, we raised an issue that we wanted to change Prof. Latigo midway, he raised an issue saying for him he is there for the entire five years but it isn’t provided in the treaty that you can change a member midway. Under what law was James Kakooza appointed?” asked Mafabi.
It should be recalled that Latigo was nominated to the African Union by former FDC President, Mugisha Muntu, who walked away from the Party after a shocking election defeat by little known Patrick Amuriat, with Muntu later forming his own party Alliance for National Transformation.
In response, Oulanyah said that when decision on which members would make up Uganda’s delegation to the African Union, it was only the Independent MPs who suggested to have representatives serve for only two and half years before another member takes over.
“On the day when the Pan African Parliament was being constituted, this House agreed that on the side of independent MPs the first member Veronica Kadogo would serve for two and half years and James Kakooza would serve for the remaining two and half years. The question was put to this House and it was adopted so that is the basis on which Kakooza is member of Pan African Parliament,” Oulanyah said.
The Pan-African Parliament (PAP), also known as the African Parliament, is the legislative body of the African Union that comprises of 235 representatives elected by the legislatures of 47 of the 54 AU states with each member state obligated to send a delegation of five parliamentarians to the Parliament, at least one of whom must be a woman.
The composition of the delegation should reflect the political diversity of the member state’s legislature and in Uganda, the members include; Jacquiline Amongin (NRM, Ngora district), Prof. Ogenga Latigo, Felix Okot Ogong (NRM) and Anifa Kawooya Bangirana (NRM, Sembabule district) James Kakooze (Independent).
Latigo’s estranged relationship with FDC isn’t a public secret; he is among the FDC lawmakers who stopped making monthly financial contributions to the party, stating that he cannot make any contribution to a party whose leadership has made a career out of breaching the law, citing denial to have members vote the Leader of Opposition.
Despite this relationship, Deputy Speaker defended Latigo’s presence at the African Union saying that the rules are clear that each member at PAP would have their tenure concurrently with his/her tenure in Parliament.
He says that the rules further stipulate that the seat of the member of the Pan African Parliament shall become vacant if he /she; dies, resigns in writing to the President of the Pan African Parliament, is unable to perform functions for reasons physical or mental capacity or is removed on grounds of misconduct, ceases to be Member of Parliament, is recalled by Parliament and when Uganda withdraws from the African Union.
“So if you find any of this where the removal of Prof. Latigo can be housed, come back to House and we handle it,” said Oulanyah.