Why POA sacked Winnie Kiiza
On Friday, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party president Patrick Amuriat Oboi announced changes in the Opposition leadership in Parliament, sacking Kasese Woman MP Winfred Kiiza who has been leading the opposition forces in Parliament since May 2016.
Ideally, Kiiza is supposed to serve for two and a half years, according to Parliamentary rules, but Amuriat, in an unprecedented manner ended her tenure prematurely.
He also dropped a host of other MPs that have been holding lucrative positions in Parliament such as committee leadership as well as membership to international Parliaments.
The majority of those he dropped are known to have not supported his bid to become FDC president.
At a press conference held at the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi outside Kampala, Amuriat said the changes were done in good faith but for months, the pro-Amuriat group at Najjanankumbi has wanted Kiiza to be replaced because she was seen as impediment to their agenda.
For instance, in one of the management meetings at Najjanankumbi, secretary general Nathan Nandala Mafabi suggested that she be locked out of their meetings.
Nandala’s reasoning was that Kiiza could be a government agent being that she is driven in a government car with police escorts.
In her rebuttal, Kiiza reportedly told the meeting that all the benefits attached to her office as Leader of Opposition in Parliament were inherited from Nandala himself.
“When Prof Ogenga Latigo was LOP, he only had the official car but when Nandala took over, he acquired the police guards and all the other facilities that I inherited from Wafula Oguttu,” a source quotes Kiiza as having told the meeting.
Oguttu is part of the clique that wanted Kiiza sacked.
Kiiza was also accused of not giving the party some of the money allocated to her office. Since the beginning of the 10th Parliament, the LOP’s office was elevated to a full directorate with an annual budget of more than Shs 3bn meant to facilitate the Shadow cabinet – payment of allowances, research and travels both inland and foreign.
Some party leaders wondered why with such a huge budget, Kiiza was not remitting some to Najjanankumbi.
Her explanation that the money is not controlled by her but rather a technical staff appointed by Parliament as director of the LOP directorate did not convince many, and sentiments remained that she had willingly decided to deny the party leadership money.
“We are the same people that speak against corruption, how shall we explain that diversion? I don’t want to be the person who does what we criticize NRM for,” Kiiza reported said.
Early this year, the party resolved to drop the Bukedea Woman MP Anita Among from the position of deputy chairperson of the Committee on Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) owing to her friendship with President Yoweri Museveni.
Among is a former deputy treasurer of the FDC but joined Parliament as an Independent who is not shy to speak about her closeness to Museveni.
COSASE is one of the four accountability committees that have to be led by the opposition according to the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure. The others are Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Local Governments Public Accounts Committee and the committee on Government Assurances.
The change in COSASE was not effected which left the leadership at Najjanankumbi wondering.
In an interview early in April, Nandala said that the party had tasked its leaders in Parliament to explain the changes hadn’t been made.
The Chief Opposition Whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said it was out of their control since the Speaker Rebbeca Kadaga had advised that all changes would be made at once.
All changes in Parliamentary leadership and membership to the various standing and sessional committees of Parliament have to be read out in Parliament and approved.