Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The former Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah has said that the 11th Parliament owes Ugandans a duty to restore the dignity and reputation of the legislative arm of government.
According to Oulanyah, Members of Parliament are no longer respected amongst Ugandans because a lot has gone wrong, and the public believes that many legislators are self-seekers who only go to parliament to enrich themselves. ‘This must change,” Oulannyah told journalists at parliament today, moments after taking oath as a Member of Parliament for Omoro County.
Oulannyah says that parliament needs to refocus its priorities and put more emphasis on national interest and perfecting service delivery for the people instead of debating things that don’t hold. He says that anything short of this will water down the relevance of the house to the people of Uganda.
According to Oulannyah, the public is watching, as legislators scramble for money, citing the 20 million Shillings that was given to each MP at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, causing discomfort amongst Ugandans, and the hundreds of millions that each legislator receives in order to purchase vehicles.
Parliament last year passed a displeasure motion against Oulanyah for criticizing the allocation of the 20 million Shillings for each MP as COVID-19 relief. The Money was part of the 10 billion Shillings that had been shared amongst MPs to raise awareness about coronavirus disease.
But after the allocation President Yoweri Museveni said it is “totally unacceptable” for MPs to take on roles for which they were not mandated, prompting a number of them to return the money to the consolidated fund. According to Oulannyah, such skirmishes should not follow members of the 11th parliament because they affect public trust in the legislature.
He added that the 11th Parliament also has the mandate to restore its relationship with other arms of government, among them the Executive and the Judiciary, which has been broken often as a result of petty squabbles. He adds that a functional relationship between the three arms is important for the enhancement of good governance.
Oulannya is now warming up for yet another contest as he seeks to unseat Kamuli Woman MP Rebecca Kadaga from the Speaker’s seat. The two will be vetted by the Central Executive Committee of the National Resistance Movement and subjected to a vote in the caucus before the general vote scheduled for Monday.