17 January 2013

Uganda: Parliament Recall - Speaker Responds to Petitioners

Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has written back to petitioners seeking to recall Parliament from recess.

Parliament public relations manager, Hellen Kaweesa, said Tuesday afternoon that the Speaker had written back to the petitioners. Kaweesa however did not divulge into the contents of the letter.

The petitioners have convened a press conference at Parliament where they are expected to reveal the contents of the letter as well as announcing their next move, according Busiro East MP Medard Ssegona.

Over 100 MPs signed a petition for the Speaker to recall the House from recess for a special sitting.

The chief petitioner Denis Hamson Obua recently handed over their petition for the recall of Parliament, to a Parliament official, Patrick Ngolobe.

The gist of the petition, Obua said, was to urge the Executive arm of Government to respect constitutionalism and the rule of law. The MPs also want Parliament to urge the Executive Arm to respect the independence of Parliament and the Judiciary, which are the other two arms of Government.

Article 95(5) of the constitution, which provides that at least one third of all MPs may in writing, with their signatures attached, request a meeting of Parliament. The Speaker then is required to summon parliament to meet within 21 days of the receipt of the petition.

The petition, however, suffered setback after some MPs who had appended their signatures wrote to the Speaker withdrawing their signatures, citing various reasons. Other MPs purported to have appended their signatures said their signatures had been forged.

On January 4, Acting Government Chief Whip, Rosemary Namayanja wrote to the speaker asking her to allow her access the petition and the signatures submitted by the MPs pushing for the recall of Parliament from recess, so as to verify the authenticity of the signatures.

Namayanja said she had received information that some of the signatures were allegedly forged.

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