The Shadow cabinet has asked the Speaker of Parliament Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah to resume sittings of plenary so that the emergencies of COVID-19 and interventions towards it can be debated by Parliament.
Parliament is supposed to be under a two-week lockdown as a precaution against the COVID-19 Pandemic, however while address journalists on Monday this week , the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Annet Anita Among said Parliament was not in recess and can be recalled anytime.
She says it’s only the building that is under lockdown, but Parliament can sit even at Kololo Airstrip.
Now 14 opposition MPs say that the COVID-19 intervention including proposals to give vulnerable Ugandans in cities and municipalities cash relief is a mess, and MPs and Parliament need to debate how the selection of beneficiaries were made, and the amount being proposed among others.
According to the MPs who addressed a press conference at Parliament, there is no concrete plan to deal with several challenges in COVID-19 and Parliament should intervene.
Joyce Bagala the Mityana Woman MP and Shadow Minister of Information and Anti-Corruption says that as shadow Government they proposed that the 100,000 shillings to be given to the vulnerable Ugandans be doubled, and Government can forego some budgets, like cutting State House budget since activities of the President are limited due to COVID-19.
“Government has not laid down a clear plan towards to encounter the economic hardships caused by Covid -19 even the said shs 100,000 can hardly sustain a home steads this therefore requires parliament intervention in appropriating funds and other reliefs to Uganda,” She said
She also says that Parliament needs to debate the selection criteria of the 500,000 beneficiaries and if more people can be catered for. She also says that Parliament needs to approve the 53 billion shillings for the vulnerable and see if to increase it or not.
Bagala reasoned that government should regulate the production and sale of COVIDEX, a herbal remedy recently approved by the National Drug Authority (NDA).
“All these things are happening like there is no Government in charge,” She added
Kilak South MP Gilbert Olanya and Shadow Minister of East Africa Affairs said that in the event Parliament does not heed their call, they will mobilize the public. Olanya says that it is unfortunate that it seems Parliament is now listening to the directive of the executive by locking down Parliament.
“ The executive should not run parliament , the two arms of government should work hand in hand to serve Ugandans better than the latter talking charge of other arms of government,” He said
Fortunate Rose Nantongo the Kyotera district Woman MP and Shadow Minister of Gender says that the Government’s plan to give only urban dwellers the cash relief is discriminatory. She says that a big number of vulnerable people has been ignored.
“ most Ugandans are wondering on what informed the decision of government that the vulnerable Ugandans who need relief are only in urban areas , rural areas have struggling people too and should be considered ,”
Mawokota North MP Hillary Kiyaga says that several sectors like entertainment have been shut down to date, but Government has no plan for them.
Frank Kabuye, the MP Kassanda South and Shadow Minister for Youth says that several youths have been affected by the lockdown, but Government appears to have no solution for them, hence the demand for opening Parliament.