By JAFAR MUGERA
Eight weeks after the inauguration of the 11 Parliament, MPs are yet to begin their legislative roles due to a failure to constitute the relevant parliamentary committees. This, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mathias Mpuuga, has blamed on the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) which he says is deliberately suffocating the work of Parliament.
Addressing journalists on Friday afternoon following a meeting with opposition MPs designated to head the four accountability committees; Mpuuga said that while the opposition is ready to formally designate its members to the different committees of Parliament, the ruling party is adamant.
“Leaders of the [opposition-led] accountability committees have expressed readiness to start on the tasks but are frustrated with the actions of the ruling party. The ruling party has up to now not designated its members to the committees and by extension not offered leadership to the various sessional and standing committees,” Mpuuga said.
According to the parliamentary rules of procedure, the main opposition party – National Unity Platform (NUP), takes leadership of the four oversight committees namely, Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), Government Assurances and Local Governments Public Accounts committee.
The ruling party, NRM, on the other hand, heads the other nine of the 13 standing committees. It also offers leadership to all the 16 sectoral committees.
“My office has tried to inquire from the Government Chief Whip [Thomas Tayebwa], and there is no unequivocal response to explain their inability to designate their members [more than] 30 days after they were sworn-in. The Independents too, have come to complain because as per our rules, they are designated by the Speaker,” Mpuuga said.
“What this means for Parliament and the country is that Parliament is operating in an ad-hoc manner, and if you are a student of management, ad-hocolism and illegality are cousins. Parliament is slowly sauntering into an arena of ad-hocolism and that portends danger to this Parliament and the country,” he added.
Mpuuga said that he had engaged the Deputy Speaker, Anita Among over the matter but, he said, found her without any options.
“The Speaker is equally dispirited and stranded because she is resorting to ad hoc means of running the affairs of Parliament, and as far as we are concerned, this is not sustainable, this is not the best way to run Parliament. The Speaker actually talked to me in that spirit and I appreciated it because her hands are tied,” Mpuuga said.
He demanded that the NRM makes its MPs to allow Parliament to get down to work.