Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has discouraged MPs from discussions relating to President Yoweri Museveni’s proposed Constituency Covid-19 task forces until the same is formally tabled before Parliament.
Kadaga made told MPs during Thursday’s plenary sitting that she was not aware of the task forces and the proposed facilitation since her office had received no official communication.
“What I can say is that the issue of the Shs 50 billion has not come to me, so, I don’t know it now. If it comes, we should handle it here officially,” Kadaga said.
Kadaga was responding to a query raised by Bukonzo West MP, Atkins Katusabe who raised on a procedural matter wondering how the President could scandalize the Speaker of Parliament and members over Shs 10 billion and just a few days after proposes another Shs 50 billion.
Katusabe expressed fears that Museveni’s proposed Shs 50 billion facilitation for MPs’ Covid-19 activities in their respective constituencies could be another trap being set.
This website on Wednesday broke the news of Museveni’s agreement with leaders of the NRM Parliamentary Caucus to form Constituency Covid-19 task forces whose budget is likely to be five times bigger than the Shs 10 billion budget that the MPs had initially allocated to themselves for the same purpose.
Meanwhile, Parliament has passed a resolution expressing displeasure over the statements Museveni made against Parliament, the Speaker and MPs.
Kira Municipality MP Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda moved the motion without notice that Parliament expresses itself against the disparaging remarks by the President over the Shs10 billion that was allocated to Parliament for COVID-19 activities
Ssemujju also demanded for an explanation from the Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija and the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda about their continued silence about the matter.
“The purpose of this motion is to advise the President that he must use the official channels of communication when he wants to communicate to Parliament. We don’t expect a head of state to join a mob of those throwing mud at Parliament,” Ssemujju said.
Bugabula South MP Henry Kibalya seconded the motion saying that also the parliament resolution should express disappointment in the Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah for stating that he was following guidelines issued by the President regarding the Shs 20 million that was given to the individual MPs yet he is a member of the Parliamentary Commission.
Contributing to the motion, Bugiri Municipality’s Asuman Basalirwa said, “At no time shall we surrender our power to the executive. Anybody denigrating the Speaker and Parliament and we follow that person, we are making a mistake. It was unfair for the President to make statements that brought disrepute to this House.”
Aruu MP Odonga Otto said that President Museveni needed to be reminded that he is not the only elected leader in the country and needed to show respect for others.
“I want to assure the President that he is not the only elected leader in this country, we all live on people’s votes; our business is that of making votes and using people’s votes to make the very reasons people promise. So, an attempt to undermine the institution of Parliament is an attempt to undermine some of us,” Otto said.
“I returned the money, not because I saw it as a bribe, it was not a bribe, but because I did not want extra baggage. I can talk with authority, and Members of Parliament can choose a path which they want,” he added.
Otto also expressed displeasure with the Parliamentary Commissioners that are involved with Museveni in meetings to seal the Shs 50 billion funding for MPs. He suggested that Parliament should amend its Rules of Procedures to allow members to votes the Commissioners.