Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament’s Committee on Rules Discipline and privileges is proposing to limit campaigning for the positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker ahead of the May elections.
On March 10th, Kabula County MP James Kakooza raised a matter of national importance over the use of abusive language and unparliamentary language by the camps of contestants for the position of Speaker.
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga who is also a contestant for the position said the contest was being vulgarized as candidates are now printing posters, printing t-shirts which is not the correct way of campaigning.
She also said members were using unparliamentary language and MPs who have not yet sworn in are also vulgarizing Parliament. Kadaga sent the matter to the rules committee for investigations.
Now the rules committee which is in the process of finalizing its report says that the general agreement among the members is that campaigning during the speaker race should be limited to avoid people diverting and using abusive and unparliamentarily language.
He says that historically, persons fit to be Speakers would be dragged into the Speakers seat for them to accept the position, but not them campaigning and soliciting in various ways.
According to the Parliament’s rules of procedure, during the election of the Speaker, “A member making a nomination shall move a motion that “So -and-So do take the chair of this Parliament as the Speaker,” and shall give a brief statement of the background and qualifications of the nominee.
Committee chairperson Clement Obote Ongalo says that among their proposals is that a member can end by just declaring his intention to stand, and that should be it.
“They should express interest and say I am available and end there, otherwise, the rest of the campaigning will be out of order” he says. Ongalo says that this is only a proposal in form of advice and Parliament can take it or leave it.
He says they will give guidelines in regards to those who seek to contest as Speaker and this is basically to resolve the problem of use of unparliamentary language and going against decorum while campaigning.
On incoming MPs yet to be sworn in, Ongalo said that this is a technicality because the rules of Parliament only refer to members who have been sworn in. He says that they have made some proposals to amend the rules of procedure.
According to one of the candidates seeking to contest for Deputy Speaker, Okin PP Ojara, the Chua West MP elect, the proposal is welcome since people are spending a lot of money and are bribing their way into the Speaker sit. He says that MPs need to vote for someone based on their experience, qualification and technical competence.
Attempts to speak to other contestants including Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda who wants to be Speaker, and camps of the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah were futile by press time.