By Davis Mugabi
Members of Parliament are advocating for disbandment of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
The House was this morning debating the report of the Select Committee on STI on COvid-19 related research. The Committee last week presented a report and STI Minister Dr. Monica Musenero asked for time to respond.
Today, MPs asked that the ministry be disbanded. Calls for the disbandment are also catered for in the recommendation of the report. STI falls under the State House.
According to the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mathias Mpuuga, the initiative should not be housed in the State House.
“This particular project shouldn’t be given funds. Until we get to know how the previous funds were used. We can send this money to universities where research priorities are unfunded,” Mpuuga said.
Sarah Opendi says that Musenero was an advisor to the President and Chair of the PRESIDE project and suggested that “she (Musenero) should be held responsible for the mismanagement of the project.”
Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda holds a similar view as Opendi.
“I think the minister and the Permanent Secretary to be held liable are those when PRESIDE was formed,” Ssemujju said.
According to Dan Kimosho, Musenero should step aside as investigations continue into the mismanagement of PRESIDE.
“This report falls short in mentioning who was responsible for the irregularities in PRESIDE. This matter requires more investigation. We cannot send this report to the Auditor General because he did not look at it before. The IGG should handle this.
According to Musenero, “At no time was I personally responsible for the management of any financial resources that was allocated to the work of the PRESIDE as this was being coordinated by the ministry and accounted for in accordance with the Public Finance and Management Act.
She added: “No funds were ever released to PRESIDE directly for research purposes. Research grants were released directly to the grantees and the processes were managed by the predecessor Minister of Science and Technology.”
“Never before has my integrity and commitment to duty ever been questioned or have reason to be questioned until now and sadly here in my own country, so it is very disheartening to have to read these accusations in the media. I hear comments on TV and Radio and have to explain to my family and friends how unfair and untrue all these statements are. All my professional life I have dedicated myself to fighting pandemics and rather dangerous disease outbreaks in the pursuit to save lives of people I didn’t know and will never know,” Dr. Musenero said.