A section of legislators has protested the invitation by the First Lady and Minister for Education and Sports, Janet Kataha Museveni for a consultative meeting over the reopening of schools at Kololo Independence grounds.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, while chairing the plenary sitting on Thursday, 18 November 2021 invited the MPs to the consultative meeting which she said will inform the Government’s position on the reopening of schools.
She said that the meeting was for the MPs to give guidance to the and Minister for Education and Sports since MPs are the leaders who are on the ground.
She also reminded the MPs to take up Covid 19 tests ahead of the meeting, since it will be a requirement to access the Kololo ceremonial grounds.
“I got a communication from the first lady and minister of education and sports requesting to meet MPs to discuss the reopening of schools, MPs are therefore required to take a covid test on Monday for the Wednesday meeting at the Kololo ceremonial grounds,” said Among.
Schools in the country have remained closed since March 2020 as part of a presidential measure to curb the spread of the COVID-19 is enforced.
President Yoweri Museveni while addressing the Nation on Thursday, October 28, announced that schools other sectors of the economy will re-open in January 2022 irrespective of whether people are vaccinated or not.
has said that schools and other sectors of the economy will re-open in January 2022 irrespective of whether people are vaccinated or not.
Kira Municipality MP, Ssemujju Nganda, wondered whether a minister has the power to summon MPs.
“You said that one of the minister has summoned Parliament to Kololo. I fear that if we allow ministers to begin summoning Parliament, there is nothing that will stop the Government Chief Whip, Hon Thomas Tayebwa, from summoning Parliament to his home. The minister, under the rules, is supposed to come to Parliament and make a statement on any matter. So under which rule does this minister summon MPs to Kololo?” asked Hon Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda (FDC, Kiira municipality).
Ssemujju argued that under Rule 52 a minister has a duty to come and make a statement on any matter in her office but not to summon MPs and give them orders.
The Leader of the Opposition, Mathias Mpuuga, expressed fear over holding a parliamentary meeting in Kololo, saying some Members may not freely express their views. He asked the Deputy Speaker to advise Minister for Education and Sports, Janet Museveni to consider making the statement on the floor of Parliament.
“Now that the minister of Education is ready to make that statement on education before the MPs. The only place MPs are best housed to speak without fear of contradiction is Parliament,” Mpuuga said.
In response to the concerns raised by MPs, the State Minister for Education and Sports (Sports), Hamson Obua, said that the Ministry of Education has been consulting different stakeholders on the reopening of schools.
“Since the President read the announcement that schools would open in January 2022, the Ministry of Education and Sports has been consulting widely and we thought we should widen the scope and generate more ideas, the ministry identified MPs as representatives of the people,” Obua said.
The Deputy Speaker Among emphasized that the meeting will not be a sitting of Parliament but rather a purely be consultative meeting. She also noted that the meeting could not be convened at Parliament owing to space constraints.