Parliament has granted leave to Kilak North MP, Anthony Akol to table a Private Members’ Bill which seeks to among others repeal and rename the Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga Institute of Parliamentary Studies (RAKIPS).

The Administration of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2021, seeks to adopt the original name of the organization, Institute of Parliamentary Studies (IPS), with the mandate to train MPs, staff and other stakeholders.

The proposed law also wants to reverse the institute’s autonomy, absorbing its staff back to the Parliamentary Service and making the Deputy Speaker, a full member of the Parliamentary Commission.

Akol wants the Institute of Parliamentary Studies Act, 2020, repealed and the Administration of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to reverse RAKIPS’ semi-autonomy status to absorb its staff back to the Parliamentary Service under the Clerk to Parliament.

RAKIPS was first started in 2012 as a department in Parliament under the IPS name but in 2020, the 10th Parliament under the stewardship of former Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, enacted the Institute of Parliamentary Studies Act, 2020.

In a September 30, 2021, plenary sitting chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Anita Among, Akol moved the motion to seek leave of Parliament to introduce a private members bill which was seconded by MP Christine Apolot (Kumi District Woman) and Dan Kimosho (Kazo County).

Akol told the House that the high growth rate of Government agencies in Uganda has continued to create jurisdictional ambiguities.

He added that the agencies continue to drain the national treasury at the expense of effective service delivery, overstretch the capacity of the Government to sustain agencies, cause salary disparities between agency employees and traditional civil servants leading to wastage of resources.

In 2020, the Institute was established by an Act of Parliament as a semi-autonomous body to conduct courses for the exposition and enhancement of the knowledge, skills and experience of members and staff of the Parliamentary Commission and other legislatures, including local government councils.

The Institute operates as an agency of Government under the supervision and control of the Parliamentary Commission. It among others conducts training of Members of Parliament and staff in Uganda and elsewhere in the world, as well as training of local government officials.

In February this year, former Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga inaugurated the first board for the Institute of parliamentary studies.

The board is chaired by Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Atim Ogwal and has MPs Anna Adeke Ebaju, former Gulu Municipality MP Lyandro Komakech, Isingiro South MP Alex Byarugaba Bakunda, Justine Niwagaba and Dr Stella Kyohairwe as members.

Section 5 of the Institute of the Parliamentary Studies Act provides that the Parliamentary Commission shall be the overall policy organ of the Institute and shall be responsible for the strategic direction of the Institute.

Clause 2 of the Bill seeks to bring the Deputy Speaker into the commission in his/her own right. Currently, the Deputy Speaker attends by virtue of the law construing the Speakership to include the Deputy Speaker.

“The Commission shall be composed of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, the Leader of Government Business or his or her nominee, the Leader of the Opposition or his or her nominee, the Minister responsible for Finance and four Members of Parliament one of whom shall come from the Opposition and none of whom shall be a Minister,” reads Clause 2 of the Bill.

The Bill now awaits to be introduced for First Reading accompanied by a Certificate of Financial Implication. The Speaker will then refer it to the appropriate House committee.