By Malik Fahad Jjingo
Councilors in Masaka City are pushing for the impeachment of the speaker, Mr Tony Ssempijja, accusing him of alleged abuse of office, incompetence, and continued misconduct.
In their petition to Local Government Minister, councilors claim that Mr Ssempijja has on several occasions violated the law while inviting members for council business on short notice with an improper mode of service hence violating rules of procedure.
“He committed an illegality when he convened an illegal council yet he was warned against it , but didn’t take it hence holding him liable as guided by R.14(4) with pecuniary responsibilities as provided for in Rules of procedure.” the letter dated October 28 reads in part.
The embattled speaker has served in the position for barely 3 years.
A total of 10 out of the 15 councilors who signed the petition also accuse the speaker of smuggling an item into council business which led to the election and merging of sectorial committee before the end of tenure, saying he violated rules; 19, 18(6) and 27(5) of the rules of procedure.
“Rule 99 (2) guides that the executive members are not allowed to vote for standing committees as it was stated in the minutes,”
Mr Rogers Buregye, one of the councilors who signed the petition said the speaker and clerk to the council have refused to sign council minutes, which has affected councilors’ allowances and emoluments.
“Councilors allowances for the financial year 2022-2023 have on several occasions been deducted with no good reason and when we tried to find out why, we learned that several minutes were not signed by the speaker and up to now we have never received that payment,” he said on Thursday
The city speaker Ssempijja however dismissed the councilor’s claims, saying that they were aimed at tarnishing his name. He said that he is ready to respond to councilors’ complaints before the minister of local government, who is expected to be in Masaka to address the standoff between a section of councilors and the speaker.
In response to councilors concerns, Minister Raphael Magyezi directed the Mayor of Masaka City , Ms Florence Namayanja to convene a council meeting today (November 16) to resolve the impasse.
“By a copy of this letter you are required to invite the petitioner, the speaker, and all councilors to the said meeting, the meeting shall be chaired by the minister for local government or a person delegated in writing,” Mr Magyezi said in a letter dated October 31.
But in another letter dated November 10, Mr Ben Kumumanya,the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government said the meeting between the minister and Masaka City leaders had been rescheduled to November 29.