Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has criticized the decision by government to hold the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party Parliamentary Caucus retreat in the course of business in the house.
NRM legislators who are the majority in the house are expected to converge in Kyankwazi later today for their caucus retreat. 306 of the 459 members of the tenth parliament subscribe to the ruling NRM party.
On Monday, the Communication and Public Affairs Office of parliament notified Members of Parliament today’s plenary would start at 10:00am and not 2:00pm as usual. However, the decision to hold the NRM caucus meeting in the course of parliamentary business hasn’t gone down well with the speaker.
While delivering her communication to the house this morning, Kadaga noted that she was forced to adjust the time for plenary after receiving information that NRM legislators who form the majority were scheduled to travel for the retreat this afternoon.
According to Kadaga, she expected government to use the recess period for other business so as not to disrupt business in the house.
According to the business calendar of parliament approved by the Business Committee, parliament is in its Second Meeting of the Third Session, which started on November 2018 and ends on Tuesday March 19th, 2019.
The session is dedicated to the consideration of reports of Standing and Sectoral Committees, including annual reports of agencies.
The Third Meeting of the Third Session of the house is expected to start on March 20th 2019 and run up to May 31st, 2019. This will be dedicated to budget matters followed by recess.
The eight day NRM Parliamentary Caucus retreat scheduled to take place at the National Leadership Institute (NALI) in Kyankwanzi District is going to stall parliamentary business.
Some of the business that had been lined up includes debate on the Select Committee report on inquiry into allegations of Sexual Violence in Institutions of Learning, presentation and debate on the report by the committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) on audited Public Accounts of selected Statutory Corporations for Financial Years 2013/2014 to 2015/2016.
Also pending according to the order paper is debate on the report by the Committee on Physical Infrastructure on the development of bumps along the new bridge on River Nile, the report on Public Service and Local Government committee on the motion of a resolution of Parliament urging government to implement regional governments and others.
The other committee reports pending presentation and debate are the report of the Defence and Internal Affairs committee on the petition and oversight visits on operations of the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and the report of the committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline on the proposed amendments to Parliament Rules of Procedure and others.
A part from the committee reports, different Bills scheduled for debate and approval by parliament will also not be attended to. They include among others the Administration of the Judiciary Bill, 2018, the Kampala Capital City Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2015, Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2018, the National Graduate Scheme Bill, 2018, the Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the Law Revision (Penalties in Criminal Matters) Miscellaneous (Amendment) Bill, 2015 among others.
The debate and approval of Bills and recommendations in different committee reports requires the presence of the line minister in the parliamentary sitting. Majority of Cabinet ministers belong to the ruling NRM MPs and will also attend the caucus meeting in Kyankwanzi.
According to the NRM Parliamentary Caucus Spokesperson, Margaret Muhanga, the eight day retreat is themed “Industrialization for Job Creation and Shared Prosperity.”
The MPs are expected to review progress made under the Second National Development Plan.