Opposition In Parliament Demands for the Deputy LOP Position
The Opposition in Parliament wants the Rules of Procedure, which regulate the conduct of Members of Parliament both in the chamber and committees of Parliament, amended to create a position for the Deputy Leader of Opposition.
The Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP), Winnie Kiiza, while presenting proposed amendments to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure before the rules, Privileges and Discipline committee, contends that the Deputy LOP will deputise the LOP in his or her absence in execution of his or her duties.
The roles of the Leader of Opposition are to provide leadership to opposition MPS; act as a spokesperson of the opposition MPs; present alternative policies to those of government; appoint members of the shadow cabinet and present views of the opposition on issues of policy.
Kiiza says just like the government provides for a Prime Minister and three Deputy Prime Ministers, it is prudent that the Opposition is accorded similar structures.
“In the absence of the Leader of Opposition, there is virtually nobody who is supposed to take up the responsibilities of the LOP and by virtue of parliamentary work, will not be in Parliament all the time,” Kiiza explained to the committee.
The rationale, according to Kiiza, is to define the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party, which has the highest number of opposition MPs at 36, as the official opposition party providing leadership to the opposition. Democratic Party and Uganda People’s Congress are the other opposition parties in Parliament.
Some opposition MPs like Makindye Ssabagabo MP, Emmanuel Ssempala, who subscribes to DP, said there were no prior consultations in regard to the proposals.
Pallisa County MP Jacob Opolot, NRM, wondered whether with FDC making these demands, it is not in essence pushing away the other opposition parties.
For Kitagwenda County MP, Abbas Agaba, he suggested that if created, the position of Deputy LOP should be left for the other political parties, in order to strike a balance in leadership.
Agago North MP, Professor Ogenga Latigo, who once served as LOP in the 8th Parliament, fronted the proposal for a Deputy LOP position to avoid any leadership gap in Parliament where key policy and political statements must be presented on behalf of the opposition.
Prof. Latigo however rejected a proposal to create a window for the Leader of Opposition’s question time, where MPs may put questions to the LOP relating to actions of opposition parties represented in Parliament.
He says as opposition, its role is to check government and react to its policies, through responses from the Shadow Ministers.
The committee is currently collecting views from MPs to amend its Rules of Procedure.