Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The former Minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng has warned members of Parliament against removing their masks while speaking on the floor of the house.
Dr. Aceng, the Lira City Woman MP was speaking today at the briefing of members of the 11th Parliament.
While speaking to the MPs, Dr. Aceng said that the number of people at Parliament was large and there was a need for the MPs to observe the standard operating procedures in order to fight the coronavirus.
Dr. Aceng advised the MPs against gathering in groups to chat within Parliament saying that this puts them at risk. She told the MPs that daily numbers now range between 300 to 400 and Kampala is now a hotspot for COVID-19.
She also said that MPs need to keep their masks on instead of removing them off as many have been doing as they come up to the podium to speak. Dr. Aceng says that with the many MPs in parliament, the virus can circulate in the area and this can be a recipe for disaster in Parliament.
Dr. Aceng also warned that several Parliaments around the world have already lost some MPs and the Ugandan Parliament too. She said the house will be sitting, but there is a need to observe SOPs.
She also said that in order to ensure the MPs are safe, the frequency of the COVID-19 testing will now increase. She said that in all things MPs do, they should observe the SOPs including in canteens.
While closing the session of the MPs orientation today, Anita Among, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament said that the 11th Parliament will treat MPs with respect and that this Parliament is expected to achieve highly.
She said her office and that of the Speaker are open for MPs who seek help among other things. She also called on MPs to continue learning all through the five years, saying things like the rules of procedure are not learned in a day.
Among also said that as the leadership of Parliament, they will work on the issue of gender representation in the house and this should be reflected in the committees.
The three-day orientation for MPs ended with members being taught on Parliament rules of procedures, life as an MP, and what to expect among others.