By John Masaba and John Semakula
Parliamentary commissioners met on Thursday to discuss the standoff between the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga and Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, and have asked the two to reconcile.
The spokesperson of Parliament, Hellen Kawesa, told New Vision that the House also wants Kadaga and Mbabazi to communicate regularly to bridge the gap between Parliament and the Executive.
“The commissioners want the Speaker and the Prime Minister to engage more openly from now on to end the misunderstanding,” Kawesa said. “The commissioners believe that there won’t be any misunderstanding if there is proper communication.”
Two parliamentary commissioners, Emmanuel Dombo and Chris Baryomunsi, confirmed the resolutions coming at the peak of the standoff between the two senior government officials.
The commissioners also confirmed that the discussion went slightly beyond the Mbabazi-Kadaga row to the President, Leader of Opposition in Parliament and the Opposition Members of Parliament, whom the commission observed are usually attacking one another in public.
Baryomunsi said they wanted the Speaker and the Prime Minister to respect one another in the process of executing their duties to ensure that multiparty politics flourishes in the country.
Dombo said: “We learnt that the Speaker wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, but he said he hadn’t received it two weeks later. They know where each lives; why not pay each other a visit. This should not be difficult because the Government pays personal assistants and each of them as extra vehicles,” he said.
Dombo said they appealed to leaders in senior positions of government to improve their sobriety and talk to each other.
He said they appealed to President Yoweri Museveni to desist from attacking MPs, especially those from the Opposition, in his speeches, because it lowers their self-esteem.
The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Nandala Mafabi was also on the spot for boycotting government functions.
“We asked why he shuns government functions, yet it is a public office, which is facilitated by public funds. We told him the office of the Leader of Opposition is not an FDC office,” Dombo explained.
He said the commissioners were concerned that the bickering among leaders would create cliques, which would hamper the healthy functioning of the House.
He said the Parliament was also bothered about the consistent poor working relationship between the President and some MPs.
“It is not good for the President to attack MPs because that amounts to lack of respect for the Parliament, yet it part of the Government,” he noted.
He said they also cautioned MPs against attacking and booing the President whenever he visits the House.
“It is not proper for Opposition MPs to ridicule the President whenever he is a guest in the House,” he said.
The meeting came after fractious exchanges between Kadaga and Mbabazi. Kadaga has asked the Executive to respect the institution of Parliament.
She was reportedly angry that the Prime Minister had accused her of being a sympathiser of the Opposition during a cabinet meeting.
However, the acting information minister, Richard Todwong, told journalists at the Media Centre on Thursday, that Mbabazi had tried to speak to Kadaga and assure her that he had made no such comments, but he was not successful, because the Speaker did not pick her phone.