Tumwebaze: What I Communicated Was Not A Personal Decision
Information and ICT Minister, Frank Tumwebaze has denied allegations that he defied a directive by Parliament calling for extension of sim card verification.
Tumwebaze was last week accused by the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, of contempt of Parliament after he announced on Friday that government would switch off all unregistered sim cards, even as the August house passed a motion a day earlier, calling for an extension of revalidation of sim cards for not more than a year.
The motion moved by Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Winnie Kiiza was overwhelmingly supported by members from across the political divide.
Tumwebaze, a day after the motion was passed, called for a press conference, where he announced that in spite of the Parliament motion, government had agreed that the unregistered sim cards are switched off.
This drew anger from Parliament, with Kadaga stating that Tumwebaze had disregarded their decision and asked the Rules, Privileges and Discipline committee to investigate his conduct.
However, Tumwebaze, while speaking to journalists at Parliament on May 22, 2017, said contrary to reports that he defied Parliament, the minister insisted that he made the announcement as a government position and not his own making.
Tumwebaze, who insisted that he respected Kadaga’s decision, explained that in a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Ruganda on Friday last week, it was agreed that no extension is given, but concerns on mobile money safety were catered for.
“This being seen as a personal decision, I say no because ministers do not take personal decisions and more so, a government spokesperson, who communicates decisions of cabinet. I am happy the Prime Minister and Government chief whip have confirmed this,” Tumwebaze explained.
He insisted there was no big clash between him and Parliament, saying once summoned before the Rules committee, he will appear and explain himself.
The minister was seen heading to the Speaker’s chambers for a meeting with her.
“I respect the decision of the Speaker. Being called to explain is not conviction. As a leader, you must report and explain whatever decisions you take either as a leader or collectively,” he added.
When questioned on Kadaga’s accusation that he has not been attending sittings, both as minister and MP, Tumwebaze denied this, stating that his absence in Parliament has always been communicated to his superiors, including the Speaker.
“When I am not in Parliament, I am on state duties and I write to the PM and the Speaker I have correspondences getting permission. But it is also normal for the Speaker to rebuke her members, but I don’t take offence in that,” the minister said.