Security defies deputy speaker Among as Unvaccinated MPs, Visitors enter Parliament

courtesy photo

Parliament has so far failed to implement the directive issued by Deputy Speaker  Anita Among  requiring all persons coming into its precincts to carry their vaccination cards as proof that they have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

On Thursday last week, Among notified Members of Parliament that starting this week, they will be required to present Covid-19 vaccination cards to attend sittings. 

This would include MPs, Visitors and members of the Parliamentary staff. 

However even though the directive from the Clerk to Parliament Adolf Mwesige indicated that implementation would start on Monday 1st November, security at the two main entrances of Parliament did not ask staff, members of Parliament and journalists for their vaccination card as required as required by the deputy speaker.

“The implementation could start tomorrow, when there are many people coming in because of plenary and other engagements in Parliament,” a police officer on duty said. 

Only visitors to Parliament who came to meet MPs and had different appointments were being taken to task as they sought entry into the precincts of Parliament as a means to limit the numbers. All journalists, staff and MPs passed freely at the gate. 

A policeman manning the gate told Uganda Radio Network -URN that they are not yet implementing the directive. 

Parliaments Director of Communications and Public Affairs Chris Ariko Obore said that following the Speakers directive, the Clerk to Parliament issued a statement which indicates that only those vaccinated should access Parliament.

“I think it is Police which has not yet enforced it, but it is supposed to start,” Obore said.

Questions however still remain over how essential persons coming to Parliament committees who are not vaccinated will be handled. 

Some entities like the Ministry of Health have started the implementation of the vaccine mandate, asking for vaccination cards for people to access venues.

The Eleventh Parliament has a total of 529 Members of Parliament and legislators were among the first categories who were considered to receive Covid-19 vaccines. 

The parliamentary staff and journalists reporting from  Parliament have since been receiving the vaccination. 

As one of the ways to ensure social distancing and also curb the spread of the virus, Parliament last year shifted the sittings from the Chamber to the Parliament Parking lot under a tent. 

The tent could host more than 300 legislators but parliament sittings have since left the temporary chamber and according to Obore, the institution could not continue paying for the tents to cut costs. 

Parliament was paying sh8.5 million  daily for the tent hire.

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