Former FDC legislature and the directly elected Member of Parliament for Bardge-Layiba Division Gulu west Ojara Martin Mapenduzi has resigned from his political seat as the chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee-PAC Local Government.
Mapenduzi who contested for the Bardege-Layiba Division seat under an independent ticket, after denouncing and renouncing the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) over mutual misunderstandings in the party.
Upon his election to the Uganda Parliament in May 2021, he was appointed by National Unity Platform as the chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee.
However, in 2022 Mapenduzi worsened relations with the National Unity Platform (NUP) after his official expression of disapproval and criticism to Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament Francis Zaake Butebi.
The National Unity Platform (NUP) spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi informed the press that the party (NUP) lost trust in Mapenduzi insisting that he had hidden intentions and desires to their party rivals NRM.
Upon his resignation from the PAC Committee, John Baptist Nambeshe the opposition chief whip with immediate efforts declared Gilbert Olanya Kilak South MP as the newly appointed chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee.
Nambeshe has also introduced the newly appointed member before the plenary.
The Chairperson of PAC is responsible for presenting the committee’s findings and recommendations to the Parliament. This includes preparing reports that summarize the committee’s inquiries, investigations, and recommendations for improved financial management and accountability.
Before the Wednesday plenary, the speaker of the parliament Rt. Hon Anita Among confirmed that, “I got a resignation letter from the Chairperson of PAC-Local Government, Hon. Mapenduzi. We acknowledge his resignation and accept it.”
Speaker Anita Among established that she has approved Mapenduzi as the Chairperson of the Committee on Public Service and Local Government, a role that was initially held by Hon. Godfrey Onzima (NRM, Aringa North).
The Opposition Members have raised concerns over the legitimacy of changing committee affiliations in the middle of a parliamentary term.
Kira Municipality Member of Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda accused Mapenduzi of switching sides, alleging that he had transitioned from working with the Opposition to aligning with the government.
Ssemujju Nganda argued that such changes are only permitted in the final year of one’s term, according to the constitution.
“A member cannot be with the Opposition today, tomorrow he is with the NRM. The Constitution says you can only change affiliation after the final year. He was here working with us, now he has been read the other side,” Ssemujju Nganda said.
However, Speaker Anita Among dismissed Ssemujju’s claims and emphasized that Mapenduzi, as an independent MP can work with either side.