KAMPALA – Parliament is called upon to provide more platforms for the public to take part legislative and accountability processes that are carried out by Members of Parliament.
According to Makerere University Law Professor, Kabumba Busingye, Parliament is a reflection of the society which calls for the input of the persons who vote and send legislators to represent them.
“If you get a Ugandan on the street and ask them if they know the roles of a Member of Parliament, very few of them will mention debating and passing bills. They will say an MP is supposed to provide for their welfare, which is not the case,” Dr. Busingye said.
He added that the path to democratisation would be difficult owing to the fact that society has its own conceptions of how legislators do their representative role, which is majorly misconstrued.
Dr. Busingye made the remarks at a Stakeholders Debate on Wednesday, 22 January 2020. The debate is part of the Parliament Week activities.
Irene Ikomu, a lawyer involved in advocating for good governance and democracy in Uganda lauded Parliament for taking itself closer to the public especially through the newly launched bill tracking mobile application and called for more involvement.
“A good place to start in trying to understand how to enhance participation of citizens is to ask what the public really needs in terms of engagement and participation; and who does Parliament see as the public,” Ikomu said.
She also suggested that journalists ought to get information from complicated debates and break it down for citizens to understand.
The Government Spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo called on the civil society to stop telling half-truths on democracy and legislation which misleads the public.
“Government always admits its problems and challenges and comes to such dialogues to seek solutions,” Ofwono Opondo said.
Hon. Oboth Marksons Jacob (Ind, West Budama South) who represented the Speaker said that such debates were healthy for resolutions to be made.
“Does Parliament have an intention and if we do, does the public appreciate that intention? This is the bridge being built so that you come closer and appreciate what the institution does,” Oboth said.
The debate was also attended by Members of Parliament, FDC Party President, Patrick Amuriat, community leaders, student leaders and members of the public.