1 October 2010

Uganda: MPs Attack Speaker Over Quorum

Two MPs have accused Speaker Edward Ssekandi of conniving with the government to pass resolutions of Parliament including the Budget, without quorum.

Kampala Central MP Erias Lukwago and Mukono North MP Betty Nambooze yesterday wrote to Mr Ssekandi asking for leave to petition the Constitutional Court challenging the legality of motions, resolutions and legislations passed by Parliament without quorum since the House resumed on September 13.

"We pray that you be pleased to cause copies of all motions, resolutions and legislations passed by Parliament from September 13, 2010 up to the date to be availed us," a letter to the Speaker reads in part.

Addressing a joint news conference at Parliament yesterday, Ms Nambooze said on September 28, she notified Speaker Ssekandi against passing the resolution to extend the term of office of interim councils in seven new districts without the presence of at least 109 MPs as stipulated in the rules of procedure.

Ms Nambooze said the Local Council Resolution was passed by only 72 MPs instead of the required 109 members.

"I told the Speaker that there was no quorum yet we were handling a critical matter but the Speaker ignored me," Ms Nambooze said.

She added: "Ssekandi connived with the government Chief Whip (Daudi Migereko) and (junior) Local Government Minister (Pereza Ahabwe) on the matter to extend the term of the executives in local governments. We even passed the budget without quorum."

When contacted yesterday, Mr Ssekandi defended his decisions in the House, saying the rules of procedure demand that members report lack of quorum but this was not done.

"Nobody stood up to inform me that there was no quorum otherwise the Hansard would have captured this matter," he said.

"I am always available to educate Hon. Nambooze and Hon .Lukwago on how the rules of procedure work. I don't have time for wolokoso (gossip)," he said. Minister Migereko also denied any wrongdoing.

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