Masaka City Council Shakes Leadership: Speaker Censured Amid Allegations

MASAKA (UG)-Masaka City councilors have censured the Speaker, Tony Ssempijja, over allegations of abuse of office and incompetence.

In a midweek censure motion moved by Zahara Nalubyayi (councilor representing Kimaanya Ward); out of the fifteen city councilors, thirteen voted the embattled Speaker out of office, accusing him of inviting them for council business on short notice in contravention of Rule 14(1)(a) in the Rules of Procedure.

The councilors also accused Ssempijja of ‘smuggling’ an item into council business which led to the election and merging of sectoral committees before the end of their tenure. This, they said, violated Rules 19, 18(6) and 27(5) of the standard Rules of procedure governing district councils. In an extra ordinary meeting presided over by Local Government Minister, Raphael Magyezi, Ssempijja was given the opportunity to defend himself against the allegations by the councilors.

However, he at first rejected the offer, saying he needed seven days to prepare a written defense which council declined.After several adjournments, Ssempijja said he was working under challenging situations and accepted that he erred in the process of conducting his duties as Speaker and asked for forgiveness. But the charged councilors instead voted him out and replaced him with Achilles Mawanda, the Deputy Mayor and Mukungwe Ward representative. Ssempijja, who had served in the position for barely 3 years, said he was going to court to challenge his dismissal.

According to the Local Government Act Section 11(6), a speaker can be removed from office by the council through a resolution supported by not less than two thirds of the members on grounds including abuse of office, incompetence, misconduct or incapacity as would render the speaker incapable of performing the duties of speaker.