Peter Nyombi puts executive, Parliament on collision course
When he still served as Attorney General, Peter Nyombi got trapped in the centre of a bitter feud between Parliament and cabinet. The same seem to have followed him even in death.
The former Buruuli MP’s body was taken to Parliament to lie in state but without a special sitting of Parliament as has always been the case with other former national leaders.
Neither the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga nor her deputy Jacob Oulanyah was present to receive Nyombi’s body leaving the Clerk to Parliament, Jane Kibirige, Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda and Commissioner Peter Ogwang to preside over the role.
Rugunda covered up the disappointment, telling journalists that Parliament could not convene for the special sitting because MPs are on recess while Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa said, Parliament could not convene because both Kadaga and Oulanyah are away on official duty a statement that Kadaga has said is far from true.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Kadaga instead accused the executive of failure to respect the Parliamentary calendar as well as spelling out the category of persons that are supposed to lie in state.
“It should be noted that the only persons entitled to lie in state and have a tribute are the sitting Members of Parliament and national leaders, like the President, and any others who the Government will have proposed,” Kadaga stated.
“In the 9th Parliament, on February 17, 2014, I wrote to the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister and copied the Principal Private Secretary to H.E. the President asking him to advise the Speaker (on) the category of other leaders or important persons that are entitled to lie in state because there is no criteria. Up to today, I am still waiting for a reply to that letter,” she further stated.
Kadaga said that Nankabirwa was wrong to state that the reason the special sitting did not take place was because the Speaker and Deputy Speaker were away on official business.
“During recess, MPs are supposed to be in their constituencies, and both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker are also MPs, and they plan their activities based on the calendar of Parliament,” Kadaga said.
She further accused Nankabirwa of being unfair when she attempted “to direct Parliament to convene in the recess without an overwhelming reason.”
“When I was sent a letter requesting for the fallen member to be extended this courtesy, I recommended that Parliament would pay tribute to Hon Nyombi at the beginning of the second meeting in November. I thought this was adequate. Government however insisted the body should be brought to Parliament for the public to pay their respects. So, I granted the request as we await the commencement of the second meeting of the Third Session when the family will be invited and tribute paid,” Kadaga said.
Nyombi died on Sunday, October 7 at Sas hospital in Kampala where he was rushed after he got unwell at his home in Buziga, Makindye division.
He served as Attorney General between May 27, 2011 and March 1, 2015 when he was dropped from cabinet.
He died at the age of 64 after battling diabetes for some time.