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Parliament lifts cap on committee membership

Ibrahim Ssemujju moved a motion for suspension of Rule 69 that requires a proposal to alter number of members on committees to be considered by the Rules Committee.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament has amended its rules of procedure and lifted the cap on the number of legislators who can sit on a particular committee. The Kira Municipality Member of Parliament Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda and government Chief Whip Thomas Tayebwa moved two motions seeking to increase the number of 35 members on committees to accommodate the high number of legislators in the eleventh Parliament.

According to the rules of procedures, each Standing Committee shall comprise not less than 15 members and not more than 35 members of parliament. Rule 188 (1) of the rules also provide that a Sectoral Committee shall consist of not less than 15 members and not more than 30 MPs.

There are currently 529 MPs compared to 432 MPs in the tenth Parliament, which makes it impossible to meet the specific requirements under rules that restrict members to not more than two committees. On Tuesday, Ssemujju moved a motion to suspend rule 69 of the Parliament rules of procedure, which requires the Committee of Rules, Privileges, and Discipline to consider any proposed amendment of the set rules and report to Parliament.

Parliament approved Ssemujju’s motion paving way for the whole House to consider another motion by government Chief Whip Thomas Tayebwa seeking to amend the rules of procedure about the composition of the committees.

Tayebwa then moved another motion seeking to remove the limits with respect to membership to Standing Committees and composition of sectoral committee to enable parliament to execute business effectively.

Parliament unanimously approved the motion. Tayebwa explained that his motion would solve the issue of amending the rules every time the number of elected MPs increases. The Government Chief Whip also said that designation of MPs to the different committees would be based on the numerical strength of each political party represented in parliament to avoid oversubscription to a particular committee.

Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Sseggona supported the amendment of the rules, saying that the ceiling of numbers on all committees needs to be removed to allow the increasing number of MPs serve on House Committees.

Tororo Woman MP Sarah Opendi said that the need to increase members on each committee as well as increasing the number of committees had been presented before the tenth Parliament but wasn’t adopted. She suggested that after being constituted, the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline should urgently consider creating more committees so that those loaded with a lot of work are split.

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