Updates on the Uganda Parliament
This is an update from the Parliament of Uganda marking the 7th Sitting of the 1st Meeting of the 3rd Session of the 11th Parliament. This Sitting was chaired by the Deputy Speaker Rt. Hon. Thomas Tayebwa. In his communication, the Speaker informed the House there is a need to regulate the DNA testing centers around the country. “We need the Prime Minister to guide the nation on this matter and counsel these men”. Tayebwa said
Rt. Hon. Thomas Tayebwa
Reacting to the Speaker’s communication, Napak District Woman MP, Hon. Faith Nakut called on the Ministry of Health to add DNA testing to the list of restricted tests. “We need to protect the men who are committing suicide and also the children who are now being abandoned”. said Hon. Nakut. The Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Hon Chris Baryomunsi revealed that there will be an assessment of the laboratories that are carrying out the DNA tests to ascertain if they are accredited for that purpose. Hon Afidra Olema Ronald (MP, Lower Madi County, Madi- Okolo, NRM) noted that ” As a nation, we know that to secure the future of a child, it takes two parents. Some women are looking after the children of some men and don’t have any complaints. Why is it that men are now complaining?”.
Hon. Faith Nakut
Raising on matters of National Importance, Nakawa Division East, Hon Ronald Balimwezo called on Gov’t to compensate the victims of robberies of mobile money shops and the related murders. “There is increased insecurity and the MIA should brief the country on what action is being taken to stop this” Hon. Balimwezo said. In response the PM, Hon. Nabbanja Robinah directed the MIA to go to the ground and verify the information given by the Hon. Member. Bungokho North MP, Hon. John Magolo reported that the medical interns and house officers in Mbale Regional Referral Hospital have not been paid their arrears unlike those in other hospitals. “These officers are demoralised because they feel marginalised”. said Hon. John Magolo. In response the PM, Hon. Nabbanja Robinah noted that the medical interns in Mbale Regional Hospital will be paid. Hon. Bhoka George Didi (MP, Obongi County, Obongi, NRM) also called on the Ministry of Lands to expedite the process of resolving the protracted border conflict between Obongi and Yumbe Districts. In response the PM, Hon. Nabbanja Robinah noted that they will handle the matter until its concluded.
The House then moved on to consider a Statement By the Minister On Hosting Of the Celebrations Of The 2nd World Kiswahili Language Day In The East African community. This was presented by the 1st Deputy PM and also MEACA, Hon. Rebbeca Kadaga. According to Kadaga, Uganda is scheduled to host the 2nd World Kiswahili Language Day in the East African Community from 6th to 7th July 2023 at Hotel Africana. “The event will also promote the use of Kiswahili as an official language in Uganda including creating awareness about the EAC,”. Hon. Kadaga said. In addition, the Minister revealed that the event is intended to bring together East Africans to discuss ways and means of developing Kiswahili for regional integration and sustainable development.
Reacting to the Statement, Chief Opposition Whip, Hon. John Nambeshe demanded that the Minister for EAC uses the upcoming World Kiswahili Language Day in Kampala to prevail over restrictions on Uganda’s goods and services to other East African countries. “If people and their goods are not allowed to cross then where is the East African integration?” said Nambeshe.
The House then moved on to consider a Motion For A Resolution of Parliament To Appreciate His excellency The President Of The Republic Of Uganda For The Clear And Precise Exposition Of Government Policy Contained In the State of the Nation Address To The Parliament Of the Republic of Uganda On Wednesday 7th June 2023. This was moved by Hon. Kateshumbwa Dickson (MP, Sheema Municipality, Sheema, NRM). According to Kateshumbwa, In the State of the Nation Address, the President informed Parliament that the economic growth for this year is projected at 5.5% in real terms compared to 4.7% in the last financial year. In addition, Hon. Kateshumbwa noted that the President highlighted that by the end of FY 2023/24, Uganda’s GDP is projected to grow up to Shs207.22 trillion (equivalent to US$ 55.17 billion) translating to US$ 156.76 billion by the purchasing power parity terms.
Hon. Kateshumbwa Dickson
Debating the motion, Hon. Siraji Ezama Brahan (MP, Aringa County, Yumbe, NRM) called for industrialization of West Nile. “We do not have industries in West Nile & even power is not enough. So, much as I appreciate the President’s Speech, we need something to be done so that we develop with other parts of Uganda.” said Hon. Siraji. Hon. Namugga Gorreth (MP, Mawogola South, Ssembabule, NUP) on her part noted that “The President said he did not give subsidies on fuel because we would go to bars. I want to remind the president that we do not use fuel to go to bars, we use fuel for productivity”. According to Hon. Godfrey Saazi (MP, Gomba East, Gomba, NUP), there is nothing to appreciate about the President’s State of the Nation Address. “For example on PDM, they promised Shs100m, but yesterday I got evidence that each Sacco got only Shs57m and the money has not yet been withdrawn,” said Hon. Saazi. To the contrary, Hon. Florence Asiimwe (DRW,Masindi District, NRM) said that she has been in the field and all parishes in Masindi District have received Shs100 million for the PDM. The Debate on the Motion was cut short and pushed to tomorrow.
The House also handled a motion to increase the number of judges of the High Court in accordance with Section 13 of the Judicature Act. Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Norbert Mao tabled a motion seeking Parliament’s approval to increase the number of judges of the High Court from 83 to 151 including the Principal Judge. According to Norbert Mao, the current number of 83 judges is inadequate. “If you visited any judge in their office, you can hardly see them because of the heap of files that actually covers their faces. A typical judge has to work even on weekends and public holidays”. said the Minister. He also noted that the number of High Court Judges was last increased in 2017 from 49 to 83.
Hon. Norbert Mao
Reacting to the motion, Hon. Agnes Kunihira (Workers Representative) urged the Government to also consider increasing the number of Judges of the Industrial Court. She reported that there are currently only two judges of the Industrial Court. The motion to increase the number of judges from 83 to 151 was overwhelmingly supported and adopted by the House.
The Chairperson of COSASE, Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi later presented a committee report of the Auditor General on the Financial Statements of Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC) for the year ended 30th June 2022. According to Hon. Ssenyonyi, the Committee observed that MDAs have accumulated arrears to UPPC which has affected the cash flows and operations of the corporation. “Some of the money owed to UPPC has no adequate documentation backing it up, which makes it difficult to recover,” the Committee Chair said. The committee noted that the UPPC did not have a functional Board of Directors during the year under review since the tenure for the previous board had elapsed in October 2021. “Since the dismissal of the board of directors in August 2O21, there was no board at UPPC for nearly 2 years, in contravention of Section 6 of the UPPC Act,”. Hon Ssenyonyi said. In the absence of the Board, The Committee faulted the Minister for Presidency for signing off documents including audited financial statements as the Board Chairperson of UPPC, saying it was “both irregular and illegal.
Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi
Reacting to the Report, Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa noted that “There is no way a government entity requires a commission agent to do business with another government entity. The Minister of Finance needs to instruct the PSST who would instruct all accounting officers that this is unacceptable”. Hon. Chris Baryomunsi on his part noted that “The NRM is promoting zero tolerance to corruption and therefore, we take the COSASE report very seriously. We shall definitely look at these issues and deal with those who are found culpable”. The 3rd Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Rukia Nakadama said Government will study the COSASE recommendations on UPPC and subsequently, table an action taken report in 6 months’ time.