The minister of Information and ICT, Frank Tumwebaze, has officially apologised to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, concerning the sim card registration row that has been raging between legislature and executive.
Minister Tumwebaze made the apology in a Tuesday plenary session chaired by Speaker Kadaga.
While opening the session, Kadaga Kadaga advised the executive to listen to the people of Uganda, saying the people, the tax body Uganda Revenue Authority [URA] and telecoms have all lost money due to the sim card switch off.
Buhweju MP Francis Mwijukye spoke next reminding the Speaker that Tumwebaze called Parliament’s decision mere advise “which can be ignored”.
He quickly accused the minister of disrespecting Parliament and asked the Speaker to advise on the issue of disrespect.
Joseph Gonzaga Ssewungu, MP for Kalungu County West, quickly reminded Tumwebaze that “the President of Uganda might save you as a minister this time round, but he can’t always save you”.
“We should demand an apology from the Minister for disrespecting Parliament,” Lwemiyaga County MP, Theodore Ssekikubo, suggested.
Tumwebaze then took the floor to defend himself and denied rebuking or belittling the authority of the Speaker.
“That I can go on record. The announcement I made was a result of a cabinet meeting with the executive, it wasn’t personal,” he said.
He added: “I take responsibility for doing the work of Government I was asked to do, and if I angered Parliament, I apologise.”
Not eager to accept the apology that fast, Kadaga then asked the minister how people who didn’t get their IDs will register their sim cards.
“What about those switched off when they registered?” she queried.
The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Winnie Kiiza, did not wait for Tumwebaze to answer but reminded the Speaker that Tumwebaze had to apologise to the public.
“Minister Tumwebaze should come with a public apology for not respecting the resolution of Parliament,” Kiiza insisted.
Kadaga then told Tumwebaze plainly: “You are obliged to inform Parliament about any resolution before you go to Media centre.”
She asked the Rules committee to listen to recordings of Minister Tumwebaze regarding Parliaments’ resolution and then forge away forward.