THE Parliamentâ€™s Rules of Procedure are to be amended to provide for disciplinary action against members who abscond from the meetings, according to the Speaker Edward Ssekandi.
The Speaker who is also the chairperson of the Parliamentary Business Committee says they have been alarmed by the high rate of absenteeism from committee work. Some MPs sign attendance book for the committee meetings, take tea and leave. The Business Committee wants each committee chairperson to present a monthly attendance and performance reports.
It is shameful that some MPs are dodging committee meetings. It is no secret that often parliamentary committee meetings flop due to the absence of members. Too often journalists assigned to cover proceedings of committees are disappointed when the meetings are cancelled at the eleventh hour due to lack of quorum.
In addition, routinely, meetings start several hours late because members are perpetually late for committee work.
Failure of MPs to attend meetings has serious implications. As the Speaker observed, a lot of work remains pending for a long time. This partly is the reason many Bills delay in committees. Ultimately this also delays implementation of governmentâ€™s programmes.
The Electoral Commission has persistently argued that it has had problem organising smooth elections because the relevant laws are not enacted in time. Besides, many government officials end up wasting time and resources when they turn up in Parliament for scheduled meetings which are cancelled due to lack of quorum.
Many legislatures have provisions for disciplinary action against MPs who abscond from attending plenary and committee meetings. For some legislatures, allowances for MPs who, without justification, abscond from meetings are deducted.
The MPs are elected and generously remunerated to do parliamentary work and therefore have no excuse for not attending plenary and committee meetings.
MPS who dodge meetings should be penalised