Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has threatened to punish MPs found of dodging Committee meetings.
In a letter dated 7th June 2018 to one of the culprits, ailing Betty Nambooze, the Mukono Municipality MP, Kadaga detailed the lawmaker’s perpetual absenteeism and threatened to take action if she keeps up with the vice in the 3rd session.
She revealed that out of the 23 committee meetings that were held by the Committee of Public Service and Local Government, to which Nambooze is a member, the Democratic Party MP only attended 4 meetings and skipped19 meetings without seeking permission from the Speaker contrary to the Rules of Procedure of Parliament.
“This is therefore to notify you that the persistent absence from the Committee activities in the next session will attract disciplinary proceedings against you under Rules 111(7) and 112(2) of the Rules of Procedure,” Kadaga’s letter read in part.
Kadaga further highlighted that Nambooze’s continued absence has hampered the Committee from effectively handling business before it adversely, which has trickled down to the performance of Parliament in general.
She argued that with the bulk of Parliamentary work being referred to and considered by the Committee of Parliament, this is the only avenue that Parliament holds executive accountable in accordance with its oversight function.
According to Rule 112 (1&2) of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament; The Chairperson of a Committee shall report to the Speaker and Member who misses fifteen consecutive meetings of the Committee without permission and the Speaker shall give a written warning to that Member.
Additionally, Rule 112(2) notes; If after a warning under sub-rule (2), the member continues to be absent from the meetings of the Committee, the Speaker shall suspend the Member from the Committee.
In a media interview with NTV, Nambooze confirmed being a recipient of Kadaga’s letter but that didn’t go without her expressing shock at the contents, and blamed her absence on the injury she sustained during the Age Limit debate.
Notably, Nambooze was among the MPs who were ejected by plain clothed security operatives on 27th September 2017, a scuffle that saw her sustain injuries on the back.
: “This has come as a surprise, I was waiting for a get well card from my Speaker, but I instead got a letter of indictment accusing me of absenting myself from Committees especially in the last session,” Nambooze explained.
Nambooze revealed to have been wounded in her line of duty in Parliament last September (2017) and that the Speaker has been part of this journey by personally visiting her at Bugoloobi Medica Center.
She also added that it was Kadaga herself who authorised for her treatment in India and in her recent accident at the hands of Police, the Speaker was properly informed by a letter from the Minister of Health, requesting her to revise the amount of money she was supposed to get in terms of medical facilitation.
“For me, if I am in good health, I don’t need any whipping in as far as doing my job is concerned. I am one of those MPs who can whip herself,” she said.
The lawmaker flew to India Wednesday for a fresh surgery.