KAMPALA – The impromptu caucus meeting held at State House Entebbe on Monday by MPs from the National Resistance Movement (NRM) agreed to throw out the Administration of Parliament Amendment Bill 2019, which seeks to recognize the independent MPs on Parliament’s top leadership.
The outcomes of the meeting were revealed by Solomon Silwany, Deputy Chairperson NRM Caucus in a telephone interview who said that the party agreed to throw away the bill on grounds that if approved, the legislation would weaken political parties in the country.
He said, “The Administration of Parliament Bill, we are going to throw it out. It doesn’t solve the multiparty system.”
The Administration of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was tabled by Andrew Aja Baryayanga and the Bill seeks to amend the Administration of Parliament Act to provide for the manner of choosing the backbench Members of the Commission, the Leader of the Opposition, the Chief Opposition Whip and Party Whips; to establish the office of Deputy Leader of Opposition and Deputy Chief Opposition Whip; to provide for the tenure of party Whips and to establish the office of dean of independent Members of Parliament.
While tabling the Bill, Aja exposed the loopholes in the current Act highlighting that in designing the backbench members of the Commission, the Administration of Parliament Act allocated only one position to be filled by the opposition yet the party in government was allocated three positions.
He added that the Administration of Parliament Act did not take into account the existence of other shades of opinion in Parliament including independent Members and special interest groups, something he says has led to the subjugation of the views of the opposition and other shades of opinion on the Commission.
He argued that the manner in which the backbench members of the Commission are selected is not transparent and there is no accountability of the backbench members to MPs whose interest they represent and has led to some members paying allegiance to their political parties that nominated them rather than being accountable to the MPs whose interests they represent.
The other contentious subject was the manner in which the Leader of Opposition in Parliament is designated and removed, a process he said is not transparent and that has led to the subjudication of the views of other opposition political parties in Parliament.
He argued that the process has made it impossible for the opposition members to hold the Leader of Opposition in Parliament accountable and has resulted in the Leader of Opposition in Parliament not enjoying the security of tenure.
Further, Aja also questioned the removal of the Leader of Opposition, currently he or she is removed by the party at any time and without the consent or consultation of other opposition political parties and wants the Leader of Opposition determined and removed from office through a process that is transparent and takes into account the views and aspirations of the opposition parties in Parliament as well as guaranteeing security of tenure for the Leader of the Opposition.