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Uganda: MPs oppose proposal to have more speakers

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by n00b, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. n00b

    n00b JF-Expert Member

    Feb 23, 2012
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    By Joyce Namutebi and John Odyek | New Vision

    The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga

    Members of Parliament have opposed a recommendation to have other speakers preside over Parliament in the absence of the Speaker and deputy.

    The MPs argued that having a speakers' panel as recommended by the committee on rules, privileges and discipline was unconstitutional and costly.

    They also contended that the move was unnecessary since the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga and the deputy, Jacob Oulanyah were competent enough to steer the House.

    This was during debate on the report of the rules committee on amendment of the Parliament Rules of Procedure.

    The committee chaired by Fox Odoi (independent) made a number of other recommendations intended to achieve effectiveness, efficiency, transparency, accountability and autonomy of Parliament.

    In the report, Odoi said the committee had received and considered a proposal to establish a speakers' panel in the rules, whose purpose is to have a set of MPs preside over the House in the absence of the Speaker and the deputy, and to represent the two whenever required.

    The committee, he said, carried out research on the matter and found that similar panels existed in national Parliaments of Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and the Philippines.

    He cited a scenario in Kenya where the Speaker, at the commencement of every Parliament, nominates a panel of less than four members as assistant speakers.

    The alternative view he said, is where the existing parliamentary commission resolves itself into the speakers' panel. He, however, pointed out that the committee had recommended that Parliament adopts the option of nominating the panel from among backbench members.

    Quoting Article 82 of the Constitution, Milton Muwuma said the recommendation was unconstitutional except if the Constitution is amended. The article only talks about a Speaker and deputy.


    Muwuma's assertion that creation of the office of deputy Leader of Opposition (LOP) was unconstitutional and unnecessary prompted the Nandala Mafabi, the LOP to say that the ruling side had both Amama Mbabazi and Moses Ali.

    Mafabi said Ali, who is the third deputy premier and deputy Leader of Government Business in Parliament, was in the House unconstitutionally.

    The deputy Attorney General, Fred Ruhindi cleared the air saying that deputy prime ministers were principally ministers and assigning them extra responsibility was an internal arrangement.

    As Merdard Bitekyerezo (NRM) opposed a proposal to have UPDF representatives chairing committees, his fellow party member, Evelyn Naome Kaabule warned of chaos if more speakers are introduced in Parliament.

    On the speakers' panel, Victoria Rusoke (Kabarole) said the speaker's office could not "be treated casually."

    Sam Otada (independent) said there was a wrong assertion by some people that there are only two sides in Parliament, the ruling side and the opposition. He stressed that "there is a shed of opinion called independents and should be treated in accordance with the constitution."