OP-ED

Beyond Rhetoric: How MPs can transcend oratory to deliver tangible results for their constituents

By Odeke Bazel 

In Uganda’s Parliament, over 500 MPs compete for speaking opportunities, making it a formidable task for the Speaker to allocate time. With limited time for debates and discussions, MPs must be strategic and effective in their speeches to make a meaningful impact.

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Oratory skills are essential, but do they truly matter? Some argue they’re indispensable, while others see them as mere grandstanding, disconnected from constituents’ needs. However, effective speaking in parliament can precipitate policy changes, hold leaders accountable, and amplify constituent voices.

MPs have successfully harnessed their speeches to drive change. For instance, one MP’s impassioned plea for healthcare reform led to increased funding for rural clinics. Another MP’s incisive questions exposed corruption, while a third MP’s speech on education highlighted the plight of marginalized communities.

However, speaking in parliament has limitations. Some MPs excel at oratory but fail to deliver tangible results in their constituencies. Others prioritize party loyalty over constituents’ needs. Rhetoric must be matched with action; MPs must align their speeches with constituency needs, follow up with concrete actions, and engage with constituents to ensure representation reflects their voices.

The disconnect between rhetoric and reality is stark. Some MPs prioritize party interests over constituent needs, and the lack of tangible impact on constituency development raises questions about the effectiveness of speaking in parliament. In Ugandan politics, where rhetoric doesn’t always translate to action, constituents prioritize tangible development and service delivery over parliamentary debates. MPs who deliver results in their constituencies are more valued by their constituents than those who solely focus on speaking in parliament.

To truly represent their constituents, MPs must strike a balance between eloquence and action. They must leverage their expertise and knowledge to drive constituency development, ensuring their skills benefit the people they serve. By doing so, they can contribute to Uganda’s betterment and leave a lasting legacy.

Parliamentary committees play a vital role in shaping policy, providing a platform for MPs to engage in detailed discussions and scrutinize legislation. Public engagement is equally important, allowing constituents to hold MPs accountable and shape parliamentary debates.

In conclusion, speaking in parliament is essential, but it must be matched with action and tangible results. Ugandan MPs must prioritize their constituents’ needs, strive for a balance between eloquence and action, and leverage their expertise to drive positive change in their constituencies. By doing so, they can truly represent their constituents’ voices and contribute to Uganda’s betterment. The time for rhetoric is over; it’s time for tangible results.

The Author is a Researcher, Political Commentator and a Social Worker

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