Parliament Constitutes Sectoral Committees

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In short
The process had stalled over disagreements on the deployment of opposition MP Maxwell Akora to a committee by the Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa. Akora, a member of Uganda Peoples Congress-UPC, had been designated as Vice Chairperson of the Committee on ICT.

Parliament has finally constituted its Sectoral Committees for the Second Session. The process had stalled over disagreements on the deployment of opposition MP Maxwell Akora to a committee by the Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa.

Akora, a member of Uganda People's Congress-UPC, had been designated as Vice Chairperson of the Committee on ICT. However, opposition MPs argued that his nomination by the ruling party was patronizing members of the opposition and negated parliamentary democracy, which provides for two sides of the House, with the latter checking the former.

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah then suspended the process to give the opposition time to consult on their nominations. But on Tuesday, Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa said she would proceed with the process since it was the opposition that needed time to consult.

The Deputy Opposition Whip Roland Mugume moved to designate Maxwell Akora to serve on the Committee on Information, Communication and Technology (ICT). Mugume did not assign the MP as Vice Chair of the Committee, a preserve of the NRM, the ruling party.

But Speaker Rebecca Kadaga insisted that Akora still serves as the Vice Chairperson of the Committee on ICT since this was the position he served in during the first session.

Upon ending the stalemate, Parliament approved the composition of the Sectoral Committees on Defence and Internal Affairs, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Natural Resources, Presidential Affairs, and the Agriculture committee.

The other constituted sectoral committees include Physical Infrastructure, Gender, Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Foreign Affairs, Public Service and Local Government, Tourism, Health and East African Affairs.

Parliament Rules of Procedure provide that the ruling party shall designate the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of each Sectoral Committee provided that no active Member of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) shall be designated Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson of the Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs.

Government Chief Whip Nankabirwa designated Independent MP Annet Nyakecho representing Tororo North, as Chair of the Committee on ICT.

Sectoral Committees examine Bills brought to parliament before being debated in the larger plenary session. They examine government recurrent and capital budget estimates and make recommendations on them for general debate in the House.

 

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.