WE NEED THE FAITH OF OF UGANDA MARTYRS TO DENOUNCE MUSEVENI AND THE CRIMINAL NRM ELEMENTS TOGETHER WITH THEIR ASSOCIATES
Archbishop John Baptist Odama (Right). “Our position is a constitutional one and we have never deviated from that legal position. Our independence is free, meaning that we can deliver.”
By Emmanuel Mulondo
Posted Friday, November 18 2011 at 00:00
Matters of faith. The Catholic Church throws its lot in with members of Parliament as pressure mounts for greater transparency in the oil sector.
The Catholic Church has backed MPs resolution calling on ministers accused of pocketing bribes from oil companies to step aside.
The Church’s position, reached after the second Catholic Bishops’ bi-annual meeting on November 11, was communicated by the Chairman of the Episcopal Conference, Gulu Archbishop John Baptist Odama, at the Catholic Secretariat, Nsambya in Kampala.
“We re-echo resolution No.02 by Parliament in respect of regularisation of the oil sector to put in place the necessary structures, policy and legislative framework to regulate and manage our oil sector… Government must be seen to be transparent at all times, especially in important matters of public interest,” the bishops said in a statement.
“We further recommend that public officers who are consistently linked to corruption scandals be relieved of their duties,” Archbishop Odama said, without mentioning names.
Oil matters, the bishops said, should be “managed in a transparent way, to avoid any form of corruption for the advantage of only a few.”
“We therefore support the efforts by the National Assembly to investigate all cases of corruption and impropriety in the oil sector.”
The statement came just days after President Museveni wrote to Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga objecting to demands by MPs that Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and Ministers Hilary Onek (internal affairs) and Sam Kutesa (foreign affairs) step aside to pave way for a probe into allegations that they took bribes from foreign oil companies vying for Uganda’s oil deposits.
Mr Museveni said Mr Mbabazi and the two other ministers cannot step aside because of “unverified’ allegations against them.
Apart from Mr Kutesa, who stepped aside in relation to accusations of impropriety in the organisation of the 2007 Chogm meeting, Mr Mbabazi and Mr Onek have insisted they will not step aside.
The Attorney General in a legal opinion to the President recently said the three ministers cannot step aside as resolved by MPs, saying “Parliament only cannot effect vacation of a minister”.
The Catholic bishops also castigated the government for selective prosecution in corruption cases.
“In June 2011, we raised our voices and warned against the selective prosecution of public officers who misuse public funds. Up to now, government has not yet done enough to recover taxpayers’ money. We therefore recommend that more stringent measures be put in place to promote social accountability, especially in the public service, where national resources seem to be benefiting only a few people.”
The prelates also opposed the recently tabled Public Order Management Bill 2011, which they said contravened fundamental human rights and freedoms and gave the Police “too wide and unnecessary powers to control and regulate public assemblies, not in keeping with a free and democratic society.