By Moses Mulondo & Henry Ssekanjako
There was thunderous applause in Parliament Tuesday afternoon as the expelled NRM MPs returned to the House.
Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo; Kampala Central MP Mohamed Nsereko and Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba moved in gently, greeting ministers and the NRM MPs as they headed to their seats.
The MPs had been temporarily ejected from the House by the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga following a Constitutional Court ruling but were later reinstated by the Supreme Court.
The Speaker assigned them different committees. Nsereko became a member of the Human Rights committee, Ssekikubo Public Accounts Committee, Tinkasimire Equal opportunities committee and Niwagaba the Rules privileges and discipline committee.
The Speaker requested the Government chief whip, Justine Kasule Lumumba, the Opposition deputy chief whip Roland Kaginda and Sam Otada on behalf of the independents to present the MPs they had appointed for the various standing committees.
There was some tension as Aruu County MP Odonga Otto attempted to contest the legitimacy of the Leader of Opposition Wafula Oguttu and Chief Whip Cecilia Ogwal arguing that whereas the rules require that they have to be elected by the leading opposition party they were just appointed.
The FDC Secretary General Alice Alaso immediately shot up to explain that Otto was out of order since had allegedly notified the party that he had taken the matter to courts of law.
In her ruling, the Speaker said she has nothing to do with internal disagreements of the various political parties represented in parliament.
The House approved names for the newly appointed parliamentary commissioners who include Wakiso woman MP Rosemary Sseninde, MP for People With Disabilities in the Northern region, William Nokrach, Rose Bukedea woman MP Rose Akol and Aswa MP Reagan Okum, who will represent the opposition.
The Business committee will be comprised of the Speaker, her deputy, the Leader of Opposition, the government chief whip (Kasule Lumumba), the opposition chief whip, Tororo municipality MP Sanjay Tana, Kalungu East MP Vincent Ssempijja and committee chairpersons.
Sam Otada made futile attempts in stopping the approval of the parliamentary commissioners claiming they had taken the matter to courts of law to ensure independents are given a slot in the parliamentary commission but the Speaker said she had not been served with any court order and could not legislate in anticipation.
On urgent matters of concern from MPs, Lubaga North MP Moses Kasibante raised a recent incident in Mulago that led to the death of six patients due to absence of oxygen.
Responding to the concern, the health minister Ruhakana Rugunda confirmed the incident and informed the house that his ministry had constituted a team of experts headed by the director general of health services Jane Achen to investigate the incident.
Kiboga County MP James Kiboja also raised the issue of hailstorms destroying food crops in Kiboga, Luwero, Mubende, Mityana and many other parts of the country and called for government’s intervention to ensure food security for the affected communities.