KAMPALA – The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among has advised fellow legislators to abandon all political differences and work together for the good of Ugandans who elected them to Parliament.
The Deputy Speaker was closing the induction of Members of Parliament on the Rules of Procedure on Wednesday, 02 June 2021.
“We represent the nation which is beyond political affiliations and must use this to work together for our citizens. Whatever we do as Parliament, we do together as a team and not in our respective political parties,” she said.
Among also promised that as the leadership, they will be mindful of the interests of all legislators regardless of where they come from or political party they belong to.
“We shall not sideline or exclude anyone and we welcome anyone with an issue of concern to our offices,” Among added.
She said that the past three days have been immensely informative about the Rules of Procedure and promised more trainings. She urged the MPs to familiarize themselves with the rules.
High up on the list of discussions during the last session of the induction were topics concerning dress-code, decorum in the Chamber of Parliament and relations with the technical staff of Parliament.
Jacob Marksons Oboth (NRM, West Budama Central County) a panelist and facilitator told the MPs to endeavor to create a good working relationship with the staff of Parliament assigned to the various committees.
“These people can make or break you; you must make sure you cordially relate with the technical people on these committees. A Clerk and the staff she works with are supposed to compile committee reports but if you insult them or mistreat them, they will not produce good work,” he added.
Oboth Oboth added that humility and courtesy are key codes of conduct that a Member of Parliament must adhere to if they want to have a smooth sailing at Parliament.
“Address these people by their titles and surnames and do no underrate them just because you are a Member of Parliament and feel big,” he noted adding that arrogance is a terrible thing when exerted on staff because whereas you are elected these are permanent and pensionable essentially meaning that the worst that could happen to them is a transfer”.
Bugweri County MP, Abdu Katuntu urged the legislators to learn to take banter in good faith and address them with decorum without letting anger and spite engulf them.
“You should strive to either ignore insults or address jokes in bad faith with demure, avoiding being scandalous,” Katuntu said.
On the dress-code, Katuntu said that the functioning word in rule 82 on dress-code is ‘dignified dressing’ which is generally found respectful and acceptable.
“This institution respects traditional and religious dressing with the aim of being sensitive to traditions and beliefs,” he said. Katuntu added that religious wear for Muslim women with veils is therefore acceptable.
He assured MPs that much as the rules provide for privilege and protection to say whatever they wish on the floor Parliament, there are limitations to the law.
“Do not think that you will get away with it if you come and rape, fight or kill someone in the chamber because there are rules that deal with that,” he said.
Lira City Woman Representative, Ruth Aceng who has been the Minister of Health updated the MPs on the coronavirus pandemic situation in the country.
She warned the MPs about their conduct in public against the backdrop of the recent surge of new COVID-19 infections.
Aceng said the second wave is usually worse than the first and certainly more people will succumb to it than before.
“There are five variants of COVID-19 in the country and what we have noticed is that much as we lost 300 people in nine months during the first wave, we have lost an alarming 28 people in just two weeks of the second wave,” she added.
Aceng asked the MPs to strive to keep their masks on as long as they are in public to protect themselves.
“We must also avoid crowding and close gatherings because the disease easily spreads and kills more aggressively than the variants we had earlier,” she emphasized.