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Deputy Speaker adjourns house as ministers shun plenary sitting

Hon. Anita Among, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament (Photo/File)

PARLIAMENT, UGANDA: The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon Anita Among on Thursday adjourned the plenary sitting of the House prematurely due to the absence of ministers to respond to matters of national importance raised by Members of Parliament.

This followed an expression of displeasure by MPs who said that the continued absence of ministers was hindering the progress of a parliamentary business.

The Bukomansimbi Woman District MP, Hon Veronica Nanyondo had raised a matter of machete-wielding gangs terrorizing the district. However, there was no minister responsible for internal affairs or security to respond to the matter.

Attempts by the Government Chief Whip, Hon Thomas Tayebwa to promise that the ministers would respond at a later date did not go down well with the rest of the legislators.

Busia Municipality MP,, Hon Godfrey Macho said the dismal attendance of ministers in spite of Uganda being one of the countries with the biggest cabinets in the sub-Saharan region is uncalled for.

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“Are we proceeding well as a House considering that the newly appointed ministers in various dockets have left their duty of responding to issues to the Government Chief Whip?” he asked.

MPs prepare to leave the House as the Deputy Speaker exits the Chambers

Hon. Joseph Ssewungu (NUP, Kalungu West) said the ministers have police escort cars to clear their way to wherever they have to go but they are still a no-show when it comes to attend parliamentary sittings.

“I understand that police escort cars were given to them as an extra privilege to make ease of their movement aware of the important government work they have to attend to like parliament sittings,” he added.

Hon Solomon Silwany (NRM, Bukooli Central) said that he had seen the ministers within the precincts of Parliament but was surprised that they were not in the House.

“We have important issues being raised like security threats and nobody is taking record; the Speaker may need to devise means to recording absenteeism of ministers,” Silwany said.

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The Deputy Speaker, Anita Among added that when the Ministers were being vetted, the Appointments Committee of Parliament cautioned them against absenteeism.

“Each ministry has more than one minister. How can we have five out of the 82 Ministers attending sittings and be expected to run this country?” the Deputy Speaker probed.

The Deputy Speaker then adjourned the House to Tuesday, 24 August 2021

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