Parliament has passed the Administration of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to among others give the Deputy Speaker powers to chair meetings of the Parliamentary Commission and repeal the Institute of Parliament Studies Act, 2020.
The Private Members Bill sponsored by Kilak North MP, Anthony Akol, was passed on Tuesday during a plenary session chaired by Deputy Speaker, Anita Among.
This becomes the first Bill to be passed into law by the 11th Parliament since it was sworn-in in May this year and now awaits the Presidential assent.
Seconded by the Tororo District Woman MP, Sarah Opendi, the Bill was passed without debate or the required 45-day scrutiny by the relevant committees of Parliament.
Opendi moved a motion for Parliament to suspend Rule 129 of the Rules of Procedure requiring the proposed piece of legislation to undergo scrutiny by a relevant committee for at least 45 days.
She said that since the Bill was straightforward and yet urgent because the current Deputy Speaker, Anita Among can be legally challenged in courts of law if she presides over the Parliament Commission meetings and takes decisions in the absence of the Speaker, Rules should be suspended to have the Bill passed expeditiously.
The West Budama North MP, Fox Odoi, also moved a motion seeking to suspend Rule 130 (2) (5) that provides for the Bill to be committed on a specific date to the Committee of the Whole House and Among noted that the Rule is among those that can be suspended, before posing a question, which was unanimously approved.
The Bill intends to reverse the semi-autonomous status of the Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga Institute of Parliamentary Studies and rename the organization.
The Bill wants the Institute to adopt its original name, Institute of Parliamentary Studies, and revert its self-accounting status to the Clerk to Parliament including absorbing its staff back into the Parliament service commission.
Akol noted that the exclusion of the Deputy speaker from chairing Parliamentary commission meetings was erroneous in light of Article 82 of the Constitution and was hindering the Commission from effectively carrying out its mandate, especially where the Speaker is indisposed to attend and preside over such meetings.
“In order to streamline the operations of the Parliamentary Commission, the Deputy Speaker should be expressly included and given powers to chair meetings of the Parliamentary Commission,” said Akol
Bukooli Central MP, Solomon Silwany noted that Bill will reduce the expenditure of the Parliamentary Commission in order to comply with the Government policy of rationalizing agencies by empowering the Commission to take over the functions currently performed by the Institute of Parliamentary Studies.