The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa issued stringent guidelines urging legislators to strictly adhere to the Rules of Procedure of Parliament whenever participating in debates.
Tayebwa’s guidance followed the defiance of his directive by Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake who was accused of breaching the procedures to present a matter of national importance without approval.
Zaake had risen to seek debate on the allegations of the ‘kidnap and arrest’ of Ugandans critical of the ruling National Resistance Movement – NRM party. But although he was advised to follow the right procedure for presenting the matter, Zaake declined to heed to the advice forcing the Speaker to suspend the sitting for 30 minutes.
Zaake was later referred to the Committee of Rules, Privileges and Discipline for reprimand. Today, Tayebwa told parliament that in consultation with Speaker Anita Among, they have come up with guidance on points of procedure and order that must be adhered to in order to maintain discipline and decorum in Parliament.
Referring to Rule 78 of the Rules of Procedure that provides for circumstances under which debate may be interrupted, Tayebwa stressed that debate may be interrupted when a member rises on a point of order or procedure respectively.
The Deputy Speaker reiterated that when a member rises on a point of procedure and ends up making a political statement masked as a matter of national importance or any other, this tantamounts to an abuse of the point of procedure.
State Minister for Trade David Bahati, backed the Deputy Speaker warning that there is a danger in ambushing plenary sessions because the House would be reserved to debate a matter being raised.
Bugweri County Member of Parliament Abdu Katuntu, also the Chairperson of Rules, Privileges and Discipline observed a need for strict adherence to the Rules of Procedure of Parliament to enforce order in the House.