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Legislators admit dodging sessions

By Vision Reporter

Added 13th December 2007 03:00 AM

THE majority of MPs have admitted absconding from parliamentary business as a survey found out. The report, which The New Vision published yesterday, said on average the MPs attended 23 out of the 89 plenary sittings between May 2006 and May 2007. Some attended just one or two sittings or not

THE majority of MPs have admitted absconding from parliamentary business as a survey found out. The report, which The New Vision published yesterday, said on average the MPs attended 23 out of the 89 plenary sittings between May 2006 and May 2007. Some attended just one or two sittings or not

By Cyprian Musoke
and Paul Kiwuuwa


THE majority of MPs have admitted absconding from parliamentary business as a survey found out. The report, which The New Vision published yesterday, said on average the MPs attended 23 out of the 89 plenary sittings between May 2006 and May 2007.

Some attended just one or two sittings or not at all, although they received their pay.

Kibanda county MP Amooti Otada agreed with the survey that he attended only four sittings but added that he was away on a couple of sick leaves. “Between February to May, I was on sick leave after an operation in South Africa. June to August, I had another operation. I have to accept I have not been around.”

But he wondered why the report did not talk about his performance yet a local paper had described him as a rebel MP, meaning that his performance was not in doubt.

He also welcomed the survey, saying MPs must be put in the spotlight to ensure that they are not idle in Parliament. He faulted the survey for considering the attendance register, which he said the MPs no longer signed since signing for sitting allowances was scrapped. He said assesseing performance on the basis of each line an MP contributed meant that even points of order would be counted.

Okello Okello (UPC) said the length of talk was not as important as its quality. “An MP can talk a forest of words but with a desert of points.”

He added that basing the assessement on the parliamentary attendance book was unrealistic since many MPs sign and leave without attending the plenary.

Anthony Mukasa (NRM), who reportedly attended one sitting, declined to comment. “I don’t know where you got that information. But as a good Catholic I have forgiven you. But if your research is substantiated and based on facts, I have no grudge against it.”

The report titled, Parliamentary Scorecard 2006-2007: Assessing the performance of Uganda’s legislators, was conducted by the Kampala-based African Leadership Institute, a think-tank.

Pius Mujuzi, who did not attend any sitting according to the report, said: “I don’t know how they came to find out, but I have been missing mainly because I am doing a diploma cAourse.”

Rhoda Acen (Amuriat Woman NRM), who reportedly attended four sittings, said she had been sick. “I am at a clinic at the moment. My health has not been good. I need time to recover.”

Peter Bakaluba Mukasa of Mukono North said he did not have the morale to attend Parliamernt since he was still fighting for his survival in the court.

His election is being challended by his rival Betty Nambooze. But he added: “It is good to have this kind of analysis because it helps gauge MPs’ performance.”

The Leader of the Opposition (FDC), Ogenga Latigo, ranked top-most, was impressed that many of his shadow ministers were ranked as outstanding. “It’s not the first time that I am being ranked an outstanding performer. But this study is not fair because I did a lot of the work in my capacity as Leader of the Opposition.”

He added: “I encourage those ranked poorly to ensure Parliament improves and people get value from MPs.”

James Kubeketrya, who featured among the top performers, said it was hard for him to react although he thought the report had “some truth in terms of performance.” He, however, expressed reservation on the way participation in committees was assessed, saying while some MPs sat during recess, others did not.

George Wopuwa (NRM), the chairperson of local government and public service, said his committee had sat 36 times from July 2006 to date and yet the survey said nothing about it.

“This is ridiculous. Our committee does not feature anywhere. How can David Pulkol, a loser in many positions, including his MP seat, rate MPs?”

Louis Opange (independent) said MPs must be accountable because they are public figures.

Legislators admit dodging sessions

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