24 January 2013

Uganda: Aborted Recall - Speaker Was Not Under Pressure

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga was not under pressure when she rejected a petition to recall Parliament from recess by a group of MPs.

Kadaga last week threw out a petition that though recall of Parliament from recess to discuss issues of constitutionalism and the rule of law, urging the Executive arm to respect the independence of Parliament and the Judiciary which many people said was due to intense pressure exerted on her by the state.

"It has been insinuated by some sections in the public that the Speaker in making her decision succumbed to unbearable pressure, this is absolutely false and wrong," read a statement from the Speakers' office issued Thursday clarified.

In her latter to the petitioners last week, Kadaga said she would not recall Parliament from recess because some members had withdrawn their signatures from the petition leaving the remaining signatures insufficient to cause a recall.

"It's in my view that if the withdrawal of the signatures leaves the remaining signatures fall below those set by the constitution for such a petition, then it becomes ineligible for further processing," she stated.

Kadaga further explained that; "In view of the above, I find it that the petition does not meet the requirement as set out in article 95 clause 5 of the constitution and rule 20 of the rules of procedure of parliament and therefore unable to act on the petition submitted to my office".

The Speakers' office through Parliament public relations manager, Helena Kawesa noted after realizing that the signatures fell short after the withdrawals, made a resolution not to recall Parliament.

The statement explains that the Speaker in making her decision regarding the petition to recall the house relied on the provisions of Article 95 (5) of the constitution and on rule 20 of the rules of procedure of parliament of Uganda.

According to the statement, the Speaker has however allowed interested members to raise issues in the petition on the floor of Parliament when it resumes early next month.

The statement quotes Kadaga assuring Ugandans how Parliament is committed to championing the doctrine of the separation of powers and the rule of law..

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