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Parliament Prematurely Adjourns Over Ministers’ Absence

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, prematurely adjourned the plenary sitting on Thursday, 7 November 2019 as a result of the absence of ministers to respond to issues raised by MPs.

Kadaga, visibly upset by the continued absence of ministers, expressed her displeasure with the Prime Minister and his team for failing to attend Parliament despite the advance notice given to them about the issues at hand that require their attention. 

“We are not going to keep massaging and pleading with ministers to come and do what is expected of them and answer questions requiring their responses, therefore, House is adjourned until next week,” Kadaga said.

She further noted that by this act, the Executive was deliberately frustrating her work and that of the MPs even after giving them notice on Tuesday, 5 November 2019.

The ministers for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Energy and Mineral Development, Foreign Affairs, Local Government, Works and Transport, Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Security, the Attorney General and Prime Minister were expected to respond to critical issues in their dockets raised by MPs. The issues constituted the first item on the Order Paper.

The state finance minister for planning, Hon. David Bahati explained that his colleagues were only running late but would show up sooner than later. However, his attempts to reach them yielded no fruit by the time of the adjournment. 

Prior to the adjournment, Parliament had suspended its proceedings for five minutes to allow the ministers the benefit of doubt to find their way into the Chamber.

The Oyam District Woman MP, Santa Alum said that the ministers’ behaviour was sign of contempt of the Speaker’s authority and Parliament.

“The first two issues concerning wildlife destructing property in Kanungu and Oyam districts and the loss of lives due to fallen electricity poles have appeared twice without any response; the House cannot continue if issues are not being addressed,” she added.

In addition, Lwemiyaga County NRM MP, Theodore Ssekikubo said that Parliament should be suspended until the Cabinet is available to attend to the matters which the House has deemed crucial.

“When matters of Police brutality arose, you directed the Minister of Internal Affairs to come today to respond to the issue. In addition, you asked for a roadmap for the enjoyment of freedoms of association for political groups but no one is here to respond to these issues,” he noted.

He added that it is imperative and important that the Speaker’s rulings are respected and that the sanctity and authority of Parliament is restored. 

The House is expected to meet again on Tuesday, 12 November 2019.

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