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Parliament’s Failure To Question Unaccounted Shs 3.25 Trillion Upsets Academics, CSOs

Legislators of the 11th Parliament have been challenged to hold an independent, and firm grip on its oversight function to enhance governance and accountability to restore public trust.

This call was sounded by members of the academia, and Civil Society Organizations – CSOs as the institution has increasingly come under scrutiny over its powers of appropriation, and holding public officials accountable for corruption in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.

A high level meeting under the them ‘Covid Oversight’ organized by the Human Rights and Peace Centre – HUMRIPEC, a semi-autonomous research department under the School of Law, Makerere University at Parliament on Friday listed several weak links facing the House and recommended need to urgently reverse it.

Prof Joe Oloka Onyango, a Law Don from Makerere University pointed out that the 1995 Constitution exclusively empowers Parliament to make laws on matters of the peace, order, development and democratic governance which regrettably the House has lost firm grips on.

Prof Onyango is displeased that while in the power of hierarchy, Parliament wields superior powers over the Executive, with both of them being supervised by the Judiciary in the third position, the MPs have become subordinates to the Executive.

Prof Oloka illustrated his point citing several attempts by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to hijack the Parliament’s power of appropriation by tabling supplementary budget requests at short notice which the MPs hastily approve without deep analysis.

The former Kasese District Woman MP Winnie Kiiza, also the former Leader of Opposistion in Parliament -LOP and former Chairperson of the Public Accounts of Committee of Parliament, observed that current lawmakers are at crossroads because the framers of the 1995 Constitution gave too much power to the President that makes him interfere with the role of Parliament.

The former LOP noted that for proper functioning of Parliament, the lawmakers must be leaders who read to enable them rise up and occupy their space as spelt in the Constitution to prevail over other arms of Government.

Kumi Municipality Silas Aogon admitted that legislative gaps exist in House especially in the implementation of Parliament resolutions which requires a stringent appropriation measures to create checks and balances, and hold the Executive accountable.

It also emerged that the Executive is arm-twisting Parliament as commonly exhibited by President Yoweri Museveni’s summoning lawmakers to State House or National Leadership Institute – NALI, Kyankwanzi to secure their backing basing on numerical strength to influence decisions on matters of national importance.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of HUMRIPEC Dr Zahara Nampewo observed that Parliament’s oversight role has in the recent past come under intense examination following unchecked misuse of Covid-19 resources in the wake of the global pandemic.

For instance, Dr Nampewo noted that whereas the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development – MoFPED maintains that 4 trillion shillings was provided for Covi-19 interventions, Parliament claims the money procured through grants, loans, donations and parliamentary approvals is in excess of 5.7 trillion and 1.7 trillion remains unaccounted for.

She says they have researched and found that the Ministry of Health presented an accountability that showed only 775 billion shillings out of the over 4 trillion had been allocated and accounted for and over 3.25 trillion yet to be accounted for.

The Auditor General’s report for FY 2020/2021 noted the flouting of procurement regulations, mismanagement of cash donations, companies and individuals unlawfully benefiting from Covid-19 resources citing the ‘Nabbajja Money’ which remains largely unchecked by Parliament to the satisfaction of the public.

-URN

One thought on “Parliament’s Failure To Question Unaccounted Shs 3.25 Trillion Upsets Academics, CSOs

  1. Parliament should give proper accountability for the funds.

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