Month: October 2021

Kadaga Institute of Parliamentary Studies to Lose Name, Autonomy in New Motion

Kilak North Member of Parliament Anthony Akol has been granted leave to present a private members bill that will reverse the autonomy of the Institute of Parliamentary Studies, recently named after the former Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga.

The institute will now revert to being a department under parliamentary service, with the same mandate of training Members of Parliament and staff. This means that it will now be audited together with other departments and be funded through the parliamentary commission, with no right to mobilize resources from outside Parliament.

The bill also seeks to ensure that the Deputy Speaker of Parliament becomes a Member of the Parliamentary Commission. Currently,  the Deputy Speaker only attends sessions of the commission as and when invited by the Speaker of Parliament. According to Akol, the changes are envisaged to reduce government spending on autonomous bodies.

Although the Institute of Parliamentary Studies was organized and administered as a directorate within the Parliamentary Service from its establishment in 2008 with backing from the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, it was elevated in 2020, by an Act of Parliament as a semi-autonomous body.

Parliament also passed a resolution to name it the Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga Institute of Parliamentary Studies. Although now the Institute is called the Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga Institute, taking it back to become a department of Parliament would automatically drop the name.     

Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal tabled the proposal to name the institute after Kadaga said she couldn’t comment on the matter because it is an administrative issue.

Legislators asks government to create a public holiday for covid19 vaccination

Members of Parliament want a public holiday declared so as to scale up vaccination of learners in order to achieve the vaccination target required to reopen schools.

The MPs on the Parliamentary forum on children noted that the prolonged lockdown on schools has exacerbated cases of defilement, teenage pregnancy, and acute malnutrition.

The forum together with the National Children Authority addressed a press conference at Parliament today and rallied teachers and non-teaching staff to heed to the ongoing mass vaccination of teachers in order to fast track the reopening of schools. 

They launched a three months campaign which will be rolled out across the country to promote vaccine uptake of teachers and students.

In efforts to step up vaccination, the MPs have urged the government to declare a public holiday or two days for mass vaccination. They believe it will not only scale up vaccination but also save vaccines from expiring.

Flavia Kabahenda, the Woman MP Kyegegwa says setting aside a time to mobilize Ugandans on vaccination would be a good move if the country is to fight COVID-19 and have the country open up.

Kabahenda urged teachers to go for vaccination to enable the quick opening of schools saying home is not safe as well.

She said girls were being defiled, citing a case in Kabarole district where a 14-year-old girl recently gave birth to a baby boy after being defiled by the father.

Margaret Makhoha chairperson of the Uganda Parliamentary forum for children also downplayed government efforts to distribute home learning materials, saying the materials did not reach the children, but also that homeschooling cannot work with parents who are uneducated. 

The executive director of the National Children’s Authority Martin Kiiza says the lockdown on schools has contributed to the increased cases of defilement with 14000 cases registered since last year.

  Government plans to open schools in January next year.  

Opposition legislators boycott plenary over re-arrest of some MPs

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Annet Anita Among has urged members of parliament to allow the law to take its course in the matters of the arrest of two members of parliament.

This follows the opposition boycott of parliament sittings following the re-arresting of Makindye West MP Allan Sewanyana and Kawempe North MP Muhammad Ssegirinya enters day two.

The Magistrate’s court in Masaka yesterday remanded the two MP to Kigo prison until 13th October. 

The opposition led by their leader in Parliament Mathias Mpuuga stormed out of  Parliament stating that they will only return when their colleagues are set free. 

However, during the plenary today, Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Sekikubo questioned parliament’s decision to continue with sittings with only the members of Parliament from the ruling National Resistance  -NRM side and in the absence of the opposition. 

The quorum of Parliament of one-third of all Members of Parliament entitled to vote is not required at a time when Parliament is not voting on any question but going on with its regular duties.

Ssekikubo says that Government cannot sit and debate among themselves, saying the opposition exists as by the laws that govern Parliament and multiparty democracy. He says Parliament should not go on like everything is normal and debate with a one-sided house. 

Ssekikubo says the silence of the opposition is loud.   

Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of Information Communication Technology and National guidance said that the house is fully constituted as the rules of procedure only talk about the number of MPs in the house and not the political party representation.   

Among in response informed parliament that she was not aware of any issue that was keeping the opposition away since the legislators who were being held were taken to a gazette facility after being arraigned in court.

Among also informed MPs that as Parliament, they will be ready to support the MPs if they need any help. She also said any one of the MPs is free to go and pay the MPs in incarceration a visit.

She says that Independent MPs, Army Representatives among others are in the house, and the house is fully constituted. 

She says as Parliament, they would not love any member to go through the challenges that the MPs are going through