The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has told a visiting delegation that she expects an explanation from the President on the external security forces that raided parliament to eject MPs opposed to the age limit motion.
The nation has been caught up in a wave of political antagonism over the age limit bill ever since MPs opposed to the bill were violently ejected from the chamber on the 27th of September and arrested by security forces allegedly handpicked from the elite presidential guard the SFC.
The speaker was meeting an external team from the African Peer Review Mechanism that is in the country to analyze Uganda’s self-assessment report.
She noted that the age limit has caused tension in the country and that tension was reflected in the House leading to a standoff between MPs on the floor.
The Speaker was responding to a question from the external team on what good examples can be quoted on the African continent in as far as enhancing constitutionalism and rule of law is concerned in light of what happened in Uganda.
She told the team that she had no knowledge of the external security men that invaded the house.
“However, what complicated issues and unknown to me it was not only the sergeant at arms that was here, there were other forces and unknown to me,” she remarked.
Kadaga also accused the government of deliberately declining to enact a minimum wage law.
She was responding to a question from head of Corporate Governance on the peer review team Prof. Karim ben Kahla on why trade unions are weak in the country and what plans the country had on a minimum wage law.
Kadaga told the team that a private members bill on the minimum wage was in the pipeline and could be on the floor before the end of the current session.
“It is the government that does not want this bill, we have, however, drafted a private members bill, I don’t know whether they have received a certificate of financial implication but when the government failed to bring the bill we brought it up,” Kadaga stated.
Valery Yao, a member of the team from Cote d’ivoire with an interest in social economic development, quizzed the Speaker on the steps being taken by parliament to mitigate effects of climate change which have worsened the food security situation, he also requested for a response on the parliament’s efforts to address the high fertility rate in Uganda which stands at 6.7 children per woman.
The Speaker stated that since the first session of the 10th Parliament MPs have demanded for a comprehensive plan from government to deal with issues of food storage, transportation and marketing but the government has failed to respond.
On the issue of climate change she noted that a tree fund to finance activities on environmental management has also not been done.
“This year I have warned the ministry of finance that I am going to cause that fund to be crated here with or without him because we cannot wait,” she revealed.
She noted that the authorities are aware that population growth rate is moving at a faster rate that can be managed stating that there is no focused national policy on the matter. She reasoned that there is need to engage the Catholic Church on the issue of allowing use of contraceptives.
The external African Peer Review delegation to Uganda is led by Bishop Dinis Segulane from Mozambique.
The APRM was established in 2003 as a voluntary instrument of self-monitoring open to all member states of the African Union under the framework of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
In June this year the Government successfully launched the second-round Country Review Process having undergone the first review in 2008.