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Public Wants Parliament To Deepen Uganda’s Democracy

A section of Ugandans have called on Parliament to increase their interactions with electorates, saying a number of important debates have been held and decisions taken without seeking opinion of the public.

The concern was raised today during the Stakeholders debate held as part of the activities to mark Parliament week that attracted members of the public, civil society, government officials and politicians.

It was held under the theme; Building a strong democracy in Uganda. 

George William Mpande, a resident from Mpigi district blamed the slow growth in Uganda’s democracy on the failure by Executive and Parliament for not fully consulting Ugandans at the grassroots on critical decisions taken saying that is why some policies receive protest at implementation level.

 “We are always ignored in debates that matter. The Local Chairperson at the lower grass roots is only limited to welcoming guests in the area, no time is given to us to air-out our issues,” he said.

At the debate, Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo told off Forum for Democratic Congress (FDC) President Patrick Amuria to stop blaming the failures of the Opposition on President Yoweri Museveni saying, “It is true NRM has not performed 100% but don’t blackmail us, you cannot blame President Museveni for the failures of the Opposition.”

The Chairperson Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Jacob Oboth who represented the Speaker urged the civil society to give a candid assessment of Parliament that the Institution would use to improve its way of doing business rather than ‘playing the blame game’.

Dr. Kabumba Businge, lecturer at Makerere University Law School said that Uganda’s democratic history bears a lot to learn if we are to have a better governed nation.

He said, “Uganda’s journey towards democracy is a problematic one, a lot of things still need to be done before we can even claim to be a democracy and those challenges are on the part of many of the stakeholders.”

Irene Ikomu, an official from Parliament Watch said that Parliament should ensure that everyone can understand what it does as a way of increasing Public awareness of the role of Parliament and MPs and increasing public participation in the work of Parliament.

“The political class world over is getting low rating. The perception out there is that politicians are selfish,” said Ikomu.

Activities into the Parliament week continue on Friday with the first 500 members of the public to get to Parliament that day will be registered to act as legislators for a day and the team will be given chance to elect their own speaker.

The resolutions from the Public Parliament sitting will be forwarded to the plenary of the main Parliament.

Uganda’s Parliament which is an active Member of The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), a body founded 130 years ago on 30 June 1889 will join the other parliaments in the world to celebrate 130 years of existence and the President of IPU will visit Parliament Week exhibition on Friday 24th January 2020.

In the same Parliament week, Parliament staff Community will be hosted at the precincts of Parliament with their families for the second time on Saturday, which activity will involve fun and games for children. The Children will also have an opportunity to tour the chamber of Parliament. The activity will be held on Saturday January 25, 2020 in the Parliamentary gardens.

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