7 January 2013

Uganda: Parliament Recall Hangs in Balance

Kampala — A bid by a group of Members of Parliament to recall Parliament from recess for a special sitting still hangs in balance.

The MPs were scheduled to meet Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on Friday and hand over their petition, but failed to honour the appointment. They are now seeking fresh appointment with her.

"She [Speaker] had fixed the appointment for Friday. We did not go. We were not able. We are seeking another appointment," Ibrahim Ssemujju said.

Some of the key petitioners spent a better part of Sunday at Parliament trying to forge a way forward. Ssemujju said they were working on their petition, which they hope to submit to the Speaker this week.

"We must prepare ourselves. Even tomorrow [today] we will be meeting to compare notes," he added.

The MPs maintained that they have the required number of signatures although they are trying to recover ten signatures, which they claim, were confiscated at Luzira Prison.

Ssemujju clarified that five MPs, who were on the missing list, had resigned the petition. They include: Hussein Kyanjo, Angelline Osegge, Gilbert Bukenya, Jacinto Ogwal and Beatrice Rusaniya, he said.

He however did not disclose the remaining names, saying it would jeopardize the signing process.

The meeting at Parliament was attended by MPs including Denis Obua, Mohamed Nsereko, Gerald Karuhanga, Mariam Nalubega, Latiff Sebaggala and Ssemujju.

Obua said: "We are moving in the right direction. We have enough signatures, but just waiting for the Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to receive them."

Nsereko scoffed at the MPs who are against recalling Parliament for a special sitting and cautioned that they should stop sending SMS messages that frustrate the MPs from appending their signatures.

"This is a constitutional matter. We are not jokers," Nsereko said.

The MPs are pushing for recall of Parliament from recess to debate events surrounding the death of Butaleja District Woman MP, Cerinah Nebanda.

Parliament on Sunday issued a statement explaining the Speaker's stand on the petition by MPs.

The statement by the Public Relations and Information office stated that much as the issue has been portrayed as one being driven by the Speaker, this is not the case.

"The speaker is the recipient of the petition and not the originator."

The statement pointed out that the Speaker must first satisfy him or herself that requirements stated in Article 95(5) of the Constitution and Rule 20 of the Rules of Procedure have been met before she or he can recall Parliament.

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