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Rules committee endorses election of parliamentary commissioners

FILE PHOTO; Rebecca Kadaga.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Rules, Privileges and Discipline committee of Parliament has backed a proposal for the election of backbench members of the parliamentary commission. The Commission, established by the Administration of Parliament Act, is the topmost administrative body in the Legislature.

Chaired by the Speaker, it among others comprises the Leader of Government Business, the Leader of the Opposition, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development; and four backbench members, chosen from among members of Parliament.

The current commissioners were designated by the Government and Opposition sides and only presented to the rest of the members. Three of them were designated from the ruling National Resistance Movement-NRM Party and one was from the opposition Forum for Democratic Change-FDC.

But Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Sseggona challenged the legality of the procedure saying that it contradicted the Administration of Parliament Act, which provides for nomination of candidates for election.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga also ruled that although the government and Opposition always nominated the backbench commissioners, Parliament is the constituent college for purposes of the election of the representatives. She tasked the rules committee to reconcile the two positions.

The committee has now finalized the process and recommended the amendment of the rules to match with the requirements of the Administration of Parliament Act. This implies that the next team of Parliamentary commissioners will have to be elected, by secret ballot.

But a source in the rules committee who preferred anonymity said that amendments will have no meaning if the government side decided to nominate only three people, the opposition nominating only one candidate as the case has been.

He says Parliament can only reject the commissioners on the basis of incompetence but not on the basis that they have not been subjected to an election.

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