Speaker Among, Prime Minister Clash Over Gov’t Actions on Parliament Recommendations

The Speaker of Parliament Anita Among on Thursday disagreed with the Prime Minister after government’s failure to present an action taken report on previous resolutions and recommendations of the House.

This forced Among to adjourn the plenary sitting prematurely demanding that Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja presents the report on Tuesday next week without fail.

“We can only get our performance by getting an action that has been taken. We come here as representatives of the people. Since you want to be a people centered Parliament, you need to be seen to perform, when you also put our ministers to check. We need the action reports on Tuesday. I am adjourning the House waiting for action reports,” said Speaker Among.

Before the Thursday sitting, Among had notified MPs that the day’s plenary was to be mainly dedicated to receiving action taken reports from different Ministers on the resolutions of the 11th Parliament from May 2021 to May 2022.

Rule 220 of the Parliament Rules of Procedure provides that the Minister shall submit to Parliament an action taken report detailing what actions have been taken by the relevant ministries following the resolutions, recommendations of parliament.

“Since the beginning of the Eleventh Parliament, we have received many motions, petitions, reports, and we have never received any action taken report on the recommendations made by this House. In the first session, this House passed 23 Bills, 71 resolutions, adopted 31 reports, had 64 urgent questions, and received 68 ministerial policy statements,” Among said earlier during the sitting.

She added that parliament is duty bound to ascertain the status of the implementation of the decisions that the House arrives at.

Following this statement, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja appealed that government is given more time to present the reports in line with Article 117 of the Constitution.

“Madam Speaker, I want you to take note of the letter I wrote to you dated 16th November. We have compiled all the reports from all ministries. As government we wanted to go through these reports together with the Head of State in Cabinet so that we give you a concrete report of what actions we have taken,” she appealed.

However, Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa said that the rule on action reports is not in tandem with the response of the Prime Minister. “We have been on this floor and each time a resolution is made, action is promised and they even give themselves timelines which they never fulfill. Are we proceeding well if we concede to a request by the Prime Minister? If we don’t move very fast, some recommendations will be overtaken by events,” said Basalirwa.

Patrick Nsamba, the Kassanda North MP also said that Rule 220 of the Parliament Rules of Procedure does not require the Prime Minister to come and present the reports but rather requires the relevant Ministries and the Ministers to do so.

He said that Parliament needed to be serious about action reports since the first session run out without any being presented.

In response, Speaker Among said that Article 117 that the Prime Minister cited talks about Ministers being individually accountable to the President for the administration of their ministries.

“That is to the President, what is your role…don’t we need you in Parliament? We need you in Parliament, you are accountable to Parliament for the people of Uganda. You made commitments in this House to report back on actions being taken, you are accountable to the country. We want actions for the good of our people. We need actions taken on recommendations, we can’t go on national TV and say we passed these laws and so on. What about implementation…what did you implement,” she demanded.

Chris Baryomunsi, the Information Minister told the House that the Prime Minister was being honest in her statement and that no body should impute that she is not honest to the House.

Efforts by Nabbanja to convince the House for two more weeks as the President goes through the compiled report did not yield fruit.

Among ruled that plenary sittings with resume on Tuesday next week to receive the reports from government.  

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