Wednesday June 7th 2017, is a day Keith Muhakanizi, the Secretary to the Treasury will never forget, after legislators on the Public Accounts Committee-PAC attacked him left right and center, for being arrogant.
Muhakanizi’s trouble came when he appeared before the committee on Wednesday g together with the Accountant General Lawrence Ssemakula and Bank of Uganda Governor, Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile to explain the USD$ 200-million loan acquired from the Preferential Trade Area-PTA Bank was used.
Legislators put the main issue aside and took an hour, taking turns to criticize Muhakanizi for arrogance before they could get to the day's business. Led by the PAC Committee Vice Chairperson, Gerald Karuhanga, the legislators across the political divide reminded Muhakanizi that his utterances and malicious statements against parliament and MPs in regard to their work contravene the Parliament Powers and Privileges Act Cap 258.
Karuhanga noted how in the past, Muhakanizi has referred to legislators as rumormongers and idlers. He also cited statements made by Muhakanizi on the plans by parliament to investigate the expenditure of the 200 million- dollar loan from PTA.
On June 5, 2015, a local daily ran a story in which, Muhakanizi was quoted, saying the planned investigations by parliament into the use of the PTA loan were misdirected." He instead advised parliament to ask the Inspectorate of Government or the Auditor General to conduct the investigations.
The same story also quoted Kenneth Mugaba, the Director Budget saying "There is nothing to probe; maybe they (MPs) just want a trip to Nairobi, Europe but there is really nothing to probe." Karuhanga put it to Muhakanizi that he ought to respect parliament.
Other legislators such as Mathias Mpuuga, the Masaka Municipality MP, Solomon Silwany, Bukooli Central, Joseph Ssewungu, Kalungu West MP and their Adjumani Woman counterpart, Jessica Ababiku expressed similar sentiments.
Solomon Silwany, the Bukooli Central MP, said Muhakanizi's rude and arrogant behavior was unacceptable and must stop.
Joseph Sewungu, the Kalungu West MP asked Muhakanizi to stop undermining legislators, saying they don't come to the house to make money but to legislate for the country.
Mathias Mpuuga, the Masaka Municipality MP, noted that it was unfortunate that they were engaging Muhakanizi publicly, saying he had called for that kind of reaction.
Jessica Ababiku, the Adjumani Woman MP, said that Muhakanizi has been an embarrassment to the country, adding that he must stop undermining other leaders. She said given Muhakanizi's behavior, he doesn't have even the moral authority to discipline his subordinates.
Keffa Kiwanuka, the Kiboga East MP castigated Muhakanizi for pushing through supplementary budgets without parliamentary approval especially with regard to the 2016/2017 financial year.
Muhakanzi looked on in disbelief, and sometimes nodded his head in denial as the MPs took turns to disparage him. After all the scolding, Karuhanga gave Muhakanizi chance to respond. He apologized to the legislators, but hastened to add that he was quoted out of context.
At this point, Karuhanga noted that his committee would interface with the PSST on another occasion over the matter.