By Joyce Namutebi and Moses Mulondo
Debate on who should preside over Women’s Day celebrations is one of the issues that have been of concern to Members of Parliament as the country prepares to join the rest of the world to celebrate the day.
For some years now, there have been complaints from women MPs that they are sidelined by Resident District Commissioners, who “impose” themselves as chief guests on Women’s Day celebrations in the districts and end up making the day for the MPs a nightmare.
In some districts there have been scuffles with women MPs and the RDCs fighting for microphones.
Following explanations to the House by gender state minister, Rukia Nakadama on the matter, which explanations some members did not buy, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who presided over Parliament Thursday proposed where there is somebody senior, that person should preside over the celebrations. The Minister agreed to the proposal.
On Wednesday, MPs had asked Nakadama to furnish them with information on as to who should preside over district celebrations and in her explanation to the House on Thursday, she informed members that as per guidelines from the Office of the President, the President officiates at the national function.
The president, she said, delegates RDCs to preside over district celebrations, an explanation which some MPs rejected.
They questioned why protocol is not followed and the RDC’s who are far down on the Order of Precedence are made chief guests.
“We know the protocol in this country. If it’s a public function we should follow protocol,” James Kakooza (NRM) said
The MP cited a scenario where the Vice President or the Speaker of Parliament turns up on Women’s Day and the RDC presides over the function. This prompted the minister to say that they expect everybody to be at the national function on March 8.
Latif Ssebaggala said the minister was only communication a Cabinet position while John Mulimba (NRM) said, “We shouldn’t cause stampede over this.”
This year’s celebrations will be held in Kumi district.