Members of Parliament have accused the Minister of Security, Gen Elly Tumwine of using demeaning language to attack the person of the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga over the decision that was taken by Parliament to push him out of the Nommo Gallery.
Tumwine was last week ordered by Parliament to pay rent arrears amounting to Shs 1.6 bn which they said have accumulated since 1998, as well as vacate Nomo Gallery accusing him of illegally possessing it.
In a Luganda radio audio interview with Gen Tumwine which has been circulating on social media, he is heard saying he won’t allow government officials to illegally take over the gallery.
“The Speaker does not know what she is talking about,” Gen Elly Tumwine is heard saying in Luganda, a language he is not well versed with.
“That Parliamentary recommendation is impossible to implement because Nommo gallery does not belong to government, I repeat; Nommo gallery belongs to visual artists. President Milton Obote donated one of the houses that were part of State House at Nakasero and from then Nommo gallery belongs to artists, not government,” he said.
He added, “Government has never paid for anything, they don’t even know what goes on there. Do they have agreements for rent? We cannot pay rent for something government doesn’t own. Nommo Gallery belongs to artists.”
During Parliamentary plenary on Thursday, Rubaga North MP, Moses Kasibante supported by several of the members including; Buhweju County MP, Francis Mwijukye, Aruu County MP, Odonga Otto and Iganga Municipality MP, Peter Mugema asked the Speaker to summon Gen Tumwine to make a personal statement on the issue.
“The General should be invited to make a personal statement for attacking the character of the Speaker and Parliament as an institution,” Kasibante requested.
The Speaker ruled to have the Secirity Minister appear before the House to offer an explanation for what they refered to as insults against Parliament.
“I have been reading the nonsense that has been going in the press, certainly he will be required to come here and explain himself to the House. I believe a number of these issues will have to go to the Rules Committee and as soon as the budget reports are done, he will be put on the order paper to make a personal statement,” Kadaga said.
However, the Director of Communications of the Ministry of Security, Ms Robie Kakonge informed SoftPower News that Gen Tumwine was concerned about statements attributed to him regarding Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.
“The Minister says he meant that the Speaker was ill – informed of the facts about Nommo Gallery,” Ms Kakonge told this site.
In a separate statement at the Uganda Media Centre, Gen Tumwine said he was ready to furnish the Committee of Parliament with the facts if he is invited. He noted that the Committee had never invited him to listen to the side of artists who own Nommo Gallery.