The Plenary Sittings for this week were presided over by the Rt. Hon. Speaker, Rebecca A. Kadaga.
On the 5th of November, Hon. Baryayanga Andrew Aja moved a motion for the Second reading of the Administration of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The object of this bill is to provide for the manner of choosing back-bench Members of the Parliamentary Commission, the Leader of the Opposition, the Chief Whip of Opposition & Party Whips. It also seeks to establish the Office of Deputy Leader of Opposition. The Administration of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2019 has become very contentious among the Members of Parliament. Hon. Aja informed the House that the law will allow the Independent Members of Parliament to have the Office the Dean and also be enable them to belong to the Parliamentary Commission. However, some Independent members said they were not consulted.
Hon. Nandala Mafabi asked the mover of the motion to withdraw the bill. He said it is meant to target Opposition because it only looks at providing a manner of choosing Opposition whips and leaders while ignoring the Government Whips.
Rt. Hon. Kadaga guided the members that the law which Hon. Aja wants to be amended was enacted when there were no independent members in the House. “Now we have about 67 Independents, what if the number increases. Should we not allow the independent members to Chair the Committees or be part of the Commission?” She asked.
During the sitting of 6th November, the Speaker informed Parliament that H.E the President notified her of his planned meeting, before the Christmas holiday, with the protagonists in the boundary contestations in Tororo District.
The following Petitions were presented and referred to the Committee on Finance, Planning and Economic Development:
- Of the manufacturers and consumers of bottled beverages in Uganda; presented by Hon. Onyango Gideon, Mp Samia Bugwe County North.
- Of tea seedlings suppliers and nursery operators in Bushenyi District on non-payment by the government for seedlings supplied and distributed to farmers under the NAADS programme; presented by Hon. Magyezi Raphael, MP Igara County West.
The Minister of State for Minerals, Hon. Lokeris Peter Aimat presented and later withdrew his Statement in response to an urgent question in response to a letter by Hon. Okumu Reagan on the extreme power fluctuation in Gulu and Kitgum. He undertook to present a more comprehensive statement addressing Members’ various concerns on Thursday 14th November 2019.
The House debated the motion for Second Reading of the Administration of Parliament [Amendment] Bill, 2019. The Speaker deferred further debate on the Motion to the following sitting.
During the Sitting of 7th November 2019, the Speaker informed the House that she received concern that Hon. Zaake Francis conducted himself in an inappropriate manner before the Committee of Education when the Vice-Chancellor of Makerere University was appearing. The Speaker ruled that the Committee of Rules, Privileges and Discipline takes up the matter concerning Hon. Zaake’s actions and provide recommendations.
Members were also argued members to adhere to the Rules of Procedure while conducting proceedings in the Chambers and Committees.
There were concerns that Ministers have been absent consistently and there are Urgent Questions which need responses from the responsible Ministers have been pending on the Order Paper for long. The Speaker observed that most of the Ministers were not attending plenary consistently which she said makes the work of Parliamentarians difficult.
“The Ministers must come and address the issues of the citizens if they don’t in 15 minutes, I will adjourn.” She said. The sitting was adjourned prematurely after the Ministers failed to appear before the House.