11 July 2019

Uganda: Parliament to Award Best Performing Ministers

After threats failed to stop absenteeism in Parliament, Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah has resorted to new ways of dealing with the vice.

Best performing ministers will be awarded certificates of compliance as a new measure to fight absenteeism particularly on the front bench.

This measure was announced Thursday by the deputy speaker as he adjourned the House.

"I am going to prepare some certificates to be awarded to ministers who come to Parliament regularly as a [form of] recognition," Mr Oulanyah said.

"It might also send notice to the appointing authority," Mr Oulanyah added.

The Deputy Speaker said this while commenting on the fact that the executive in a rare development made a fair attempt to attend Thursday's sitting.

On Wednesday the front bench was nearly empty, and no question by members was aptly responded to, during matters of urgent national importance.

The deputy speaker said that there are ministers who have made every effort to attend House and these should be recognized.

"There are faces I see here and they deal with questions urgently; especially the minister of State for internal affairs (Obiga Kania), he does very well," Oulanyah said.

Mr Oulanyah also recognised the minister of State for Works, Gen Katumba Wamala and Health Ministers, Dr Ruth Aceng, Dr Sarah Opendi and Joyce Moriku Kaducu.

Mr David Bahati, the minister of State for Planning is another regular minister, who has of late taken on almost all business relating to the ministry in Parliament.

He lauded the ministers for serving their mandate and keeping a close engagement between Parliament and the executive.

Mr Oulanyah said "such engagement is healthy and it helps."

"If we encourage this level of engagement, it helps parliament and it helps the people who send us here to understand that their issues are being dealt with and it makes them happy," he added.

"But if questions are asked, months pass-by and there are no answers to them it can be very discouraging," he added.

Mr Oulanyah also asked cabinet to pay attention to recurrent issues raised, especially concerns over health, security, education and infrastructure as well as local government matters.

There has been a tendency by ministers to absent themselves without explanation, choking business in the House and creating backlog in the process.

The Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, who is the leader of Government Business in the House attended the Thursday sitting and indicated that the idea could help.

He promised to ensure that ministers attend parliament.

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