By Andrew Irumba
Kampala, Uganda: Mubarak Munyagwa, the Kawempe South Member of Parliament has finally assumed the leadership of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) Monday.
Munyagwa replaces Hon.Abdul Katuntu, the Bugweri County MP who has been at the helm of the committee for the last two and a half years. Katuntu was dropped by the current leadership at the Najjanankumbi based FDC party.
COSASE is one of the four accountability committees of parliament mandated to examine the audited accounts by the Auditor General detailing the appropriation of government funds to different Commissions, authorities and enterprises. While handing over to Munyagwa on Monday afternoon, Katuntu regretted that the process had been delayed by investigations into the closure of seven commercial banks reports, whose report was tabled in parliament last Thursday.
He told Munyagwa that despite the fact that COSASE is one of the interesting committees it has a backlog of reports to handle. According to Katuntu, the Committee has been able to handle 14 of the 112 statutory bodies during his two and half year tenure in office.
Katuntu explained that they zeroed in on the 14 institutions because of the huge budget allocations they receive. He advised Munyagwa to analyze the budgets allocated to all the institutions to guide his leadership.
He also said that it was important to look at the budgets allocated to the institutions hand in hand with the Auditor General’s report, which usually highlights accountability issues.
Katuntu added that other than the 14 institutions handled, his leadership completed and wrote a report on the beneficiaries of the Presidential Handshake, a report on the Centenary Park land row between Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and Nalongo Estates and other reports laid on table yet to be debated by parliament.
He said that his biggest success was to produce a number of reports without minority reports from members. He urged Munyagwa to work hand in hand with the committee members towards agreement.
Katuntu also cautioned his successor to be aware of the difficulty to raise quorum when handling business before the committee and pledge his support whenever called upon. In his acceptance speech, Munyagwa described Katuntu as a great personality and a brilliant lawyer he was replacing.
He appealed to the public not to compare his working methods with Katuntu because they are totally different people.
“I want to advise the public not to compare me with Hon.Katuntu, because there is no doubt that the ‘shoes’ I’m fitting myself in are too huge, Katuntu is one of the most brainy lawyers in town and therefore comparing me with him would be very unfair,” Munywaga conceded.
Asked what he is going to do first as the new COSASE Chair, Munyagwa said that he was going to meet the Clerk attached to the committee and come up with a work plan, which will be discussed by the entire committee.
Munyagwa also noted that he wasn’t assigned a Vice Chairperson, saying that he was to meet the Speaker and Leader of Opposition (LOP) about the matter.
LOP Betty Aol Ochan had assigned Rubaga North MP, Moses Kasibante, an Independent to deputize Munyagwa but Kadaga assigned him to the Appointments Committee of parliament.
Munyagwa assured the public that he was more than able to steer the committee having served as Kawempe Division Mayor before joining parliament.
Asked about pending case against him before court, Munyagwa said that he should be given chance to serve, adding that he is innocent until proven guilty.