Ebola: Parliament to Resume Next Week with Reduced Attendance

Parliament will resume plenary sittings on Tuesday, November 1, 2022, next week after a three-week recess with a reduced number of legislators because of the Ebola threat.

This was contained in a notice of resumption of plenary sitting issued by the Clerk to Parliament, Adolf Mwesige Kasaija on Thursday to all Members of Parliament. 

“This is therefore to inform you that plenary sittings will commence on Tuesday, 1st November 2022 at 2:00 pm,” reads part of the notice from the Clerk. The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among adjourned the House sine die during the 36th sittings of the 1st meeting of the 2nd Session of Parliament on Thursday, November 29, 2022.

The House will resume amidst plans to ban visitors following the escalation of the Ebola cases in the city. On Wednesday, the business Committee of parliament held a meeting chaired by Speaker Among that was attended by the Prime Minister, Robina Nabbanja, and chairpersons of various committees that discussed the possibility of reducing the number of people accessing the parliamentary building.

Mwine Mpaka Rwamirama, the Mbarara City South Member of Parliament, who doubles as the Chairperson of the Trade and Tourism Committee who attended the meeting confirmed that the matter came to their attention, adding that the speaker will issue a detailed communication on how the new Standard Operating Procedures – SOPs will be implemented once Parliament has reconvened.

Bukooli County Central Member of Parliament, Solomon Silwany noted that the proposal follows the confirmation of 95 Ebola cases in the country with 28 deaths so far recorded by the Ministry of Health since the epidemic broke out in September 2022.

In March 2020, parliament came up with a cocktail of SOPs to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, among which included the restriction on the number of MPs attending each plenary sitting. Some staff was asked to work from home.

The new rules also saw a limit on the number of visitors and journalists at Parliament, while witnesses appearing before Committees were asked to make written or electronic submissions instead of making a physical appearance.

Notably, legislators from Mubende and Kassanda districts have been asked to limit physical interactions with their constituents while Parliamentary Committees are barred from carrying out physical visits to districts that have been affected by the epidemic.

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