Kadaga orders Tumwine to vacate Nommo Gallery
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has ordered Security Minister, General Elly Tumwine to vacate the Uganda National Cultural Centre (UNCC), and pay the pending rent arrears amounting to Shs 1,62bn.
Kadaga’s directive followed concerns raised by members of the parliamentary committee on gender, labor and social development that despite summoning the minister to appear, he snubbed the invite.
Kadaga said that whereas Parliament has been appropriating money for the facility, Tumwine has been using the budget while collecting money from the gallery at the same time.
The Uganda National Cultural Centre (UNCC) was established by an Act of Parliament in 1959 and at the moment, the centre has two constituent institutions namely; the National theatre and the Nommo Gallery.
Kadaga warned that if Tumwine isn’t put in his place, it won’t be long before another person comes up claiming what is not his.
“I think it is a serious indictment on this House that we have been budgeting for Nommo gallery and when it has been appropriated by an individual. If we don’t check this impunity, one day someone will come here, take over this Parliament and say this is my house, I fought in the bush,” Kadaga said.
Kadaga directed that the General vacates the premise and also pay the Shs 1.62bn rent arrears .
“This House directs Tumwine to pay the rent and also vacate because it is a public facility. I don’t think we want to be associated with this type of impunity, no. I don’t want to be associated with it.” Kadaga said
The details were contained in the report on Ministerial policy statement and budget estimates for social development sector for FY2018/2019 that was tabled by Alex Ndeezi, the committee chairperson on of gender and labour.
When the officials of the National Cultural Center appeared before the gender committee to defend their budget, they revealed how they have been finding difficulty in collecting rental fees from Nommo Gallery because Creations Limited, a private company owned by Gen. Tumwine has been occupying Nommo Gallery since 1998.
Despite occupying the premises, the controversial gallery has never paid rent to UNCC, with efforts to collect rent having hit a snag and rent accumulated to Shs1,62bn as per 2017.
The Committee findings angered MPs with Odonga Otto saying it was time Parliament stopped lamenting about Tumwine’s impunity and have his emoluments withheld, so as to recover the rent arrears.
“The Committee that is lamenting that there is nothing that this County can do about the rent accruing from Nommo gallery for twenty years. I have been here for twenty years and I am at loss because it is like the whole Parliament seemingly can’t do anything about it because year in year out, the same person can’t pay rent.” Otto said
The FDC Legislator wondered if it wasn’t time to have Tumwine make a personal statement on the subject of Nommo gallery as this isn’t the first time the issue is coming to the floor of Parliament.
“We should stand our ground other than the committee coming here to lament. He was invited by the committee and he refused and the committee is also helpless, I now know why some people went to the bush.
What can we do about these seemingly untouchable Ugandans who carry guns to the bush, overthrew a government and now they are untouchable,” Odonga added.
Nandala Mafabi (Budadiri West MP) reminded MPs of a recent development when Tumwine showed off his house allegedly in Kiruhura district that made people amazed: “Recently, Tumwine invited MPs for a party in his place, he has built a Shs 5bn Nommo gallery there. So the information I am giving is that they have transferred the Nommo gallery from Kampala.”
Attempts to talk to Tumwine was not possible by press time.