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Ministers abscond from Parliament after loss in NRM primaries

Parliament of Uganda

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | Cecilia Ogwal, the Dokolo Woman Member of Parliament has sought President Museveni’s intervention after ministers failed to attend plenary. 

Several ministers were absent during plenary on Wednesday with the exception of the Minister of Gender Frank Tumwebaze.

By 5:00 Pm when the house was adjourned, there were less than 30 Members of Parliament in the chambers.

Several items on the order paper were not tabled due to failure by Ministers to attend plenary.

They included debate on the payment of South Sudan traders by Minister of Finance, Distribution of Tarmac roads by the Minister of Works and laying of documents by the Ministry of Energy, among others. 

Some of the Minsters who who lost and were absent included the Finance Minister in Charge of Investment Evelyn Anite, Grace Freedom  Kwiyucwiny (Minister Northern Uganda Affairs) Gabriel Agedra (Minister of State for Finance-(General Duties),  and John Byabagambi (State Minister Karamoja Affairs) did not attend plenary. 

According to Ogwal, MPs were deliberately dodging the house simply because they lost primaries and were now not interested in attending plenary.  Ogwal said that the matter of absentee Ministers including the leader of Government Business and Chief Whip should be brought to the attention of the President.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga says that it is unfortunate that Ministers accuse Parliament of failing to perform its role, yet they are always absent from plenary. She said that despite being defeated in the NRM party primaries, the Ministers needed to attend plenary until their term ends in May next year.  

Several MPs who lost the NRM flag did not turn up in Parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday except David Abala the Ngora MP, Geoffrey Macho the MP Busia Municipality and Paul Akamba the Busiki MP and Mitooma Woman MP Jovah Kamateeka among others.  

Buyamba County MP Amos Mandera said that he was not prepared to attend plenary because he had competing priorities. He says the timing of recalling the plenary was wrong as some MPs are still battling with petitions.

“It was just a matter of bad timing, we did not dodge plenary but had other issues to take care of. But also several MPs who retained their flag did not show up, it is not only those who lost” Mandera said.      

James Waluswaka, the Bunyole West MP who did not appear on Wednesday and Tuesday said that there have been elections and he has been engaged in them.

On Wednesday, some MPs who lost on Wednesday said that they would not be contesting as independent candidates in the 2021 elections.

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