Confusion As New MPs Adjust Decorum in Parliament

2798 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Rule 9 sub-rules 2 and 3 of parliaments rules provide for where the government and opposition MPs ought to sit in the chambers.

There was drama during plenary in parliament this afternoon when new legislators acted in disregard of procedure.
It all started after the Deputy speaker, Jacob Oulanyah permitted the Bukooli Island Member of Parliament, George Ouma Abbot to present a petition on the welfare and transport of legislators from island constituencies since he had secured space on the order paper. 

Abbot walked to the microphone and started presenting his case as a matter of national importance instead of tabling a petition. This prompted Oulanyah to interject and ask him to present the petition in vain. He then directed the legislator to prepare a petition and present it to the house on Thursday.
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No sooner had Abbot sat down than Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda; the Opposition Chief Whip took to the floor to seek for guidance from the speaker on the sitting arrangement in the chambers. He claimed that MPs has taken it for granted to sit anywhere they feel comfortable.
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Rule 9 sub-rules 2 and 3 of parliament's rules provide for where the government and opposition MPs ought to sit in the chambers. Oulanyah then decided to reorganise the legislators and guide them on the sitting arrangement.

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However, the Deputy Attorney, General Mwesigwa Rukutana pleaded for modesty, saying Rule 9 of the parliament rules of procedure gives the speaker discretion to reserve a seat for every MP. 

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As a result Oulanyah reconsidered his decision and allowed free sitting in parliament until such a time when more space is created for the legislators to seat comfortably. However, Theodore Ssekikubo, the Lwemiyaga County MP said the sitting arrangement in the House was being handled casually, saying it can lead to loss of seats in parliament.  

Oulanyah said that the parliamentary commission would find an appropriate solution to the problem.  Parliament is grappling with the issue of space since the number of MPs increased from 375 to 427.


About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.