TOP
Thursday,August 13,2020 10:50 AM

What has Parliament done?

By Vision Reporter

Added 5th August 2012 06:09 PM

If one asks, what single thing has the 9th Parliament done so far? The immediate answer is: fighting corruption. On the surface it seems so, but it is not!

If one asks, what single thing has the 9th Parliament done so far? The immediate answer is: fighting corruption. On the surface it seems so, but it is not!

By David Mukholi

If one asks, what single thing has the 9th Parliament done so far? The immediate answer is: fighting corruption. On the surface it seems so, but it is not!

Parliament has come out boldly on graft, quizzing offi cials accused of corruption by the Auditor General. There is no doubt accounting offi cials dread appearing before MPs to explain how they spend public funds.

It is evident Parliament has demonstrated ability to hold Government accountable but like the outgoing British High Commissioner, Martin Shearman said in an interview last week “that is its job”. For instance when following issues raised in the Auditor General Report, it is simply carrying out its duty. Its Public Accounts Committee studies the reports and invites Government officials to answer queries.

According to the Constitution the Auditor General audits and reports on all public accounts. Thereafter, he submits to Parliament annually a report for it to debate and take action.

As long as it is carrying out one of its duties, which in this case is using the Auditor General’s report to hold Government officials accountable, the fight against corruption cannot be the one thing the 9th Parliament has done. 

Besides, MPs are not the only ones talking tough. The President and other Government officials are also speaking firmly against corruption. What the MPs have done is raise their voices against corruption, pitching them higher than the previous Parliament. 

This is not surprising. As a Parliament with active debates, due to tough-talking MPs, not only has it managed to stand out but also inadvertently created the impression that it is doing a good job on the war against graft. Maybe, but that is not the most signifi cant thing it has done since it came into existence in May last year.

In June the Parliament appointments committee blocked four politicians from being appointed ministers. They were among the 75 nominated by the President to constitute the new cabinet following his victory in the 2011 elections.

The four are Nasser Ntege Sebaggala (Minister without Portfolio), Saleh Kamba (State for Bunyoro Affairs), James Kakooza (State for Primary Health) and Muyanja Mbabali (State for Investment) who the vetting committee disqualified on grounds of lack of academic qualifi cations and moral integrity.

Parliament’s action accentuated the independence of the legislature and how it can check the executive which augurs well for democracy. But looking back since the vetting, Parliament indirectly helped show Ugandans that the Government can run without some ministries.

Often, ethnic groups, religions and regions demand representation in cabinet which politically forces the need to balance the numerous interests. And the consequence is a big number of ministers. For one year now the four positions remain vacant and following resignation of five ministers later, nine are unoccupied. 

Sam Kutesa (Foreign Affairs), John Nasasira (Chief Whip) and Mwesigwa Rukutana (State for Labour) stepped aside in the wake of CHOGMrelated court case and are still aside. Kabakumba Masiko (Presidency/ Kampala) was forced to resign amidst allegations that she had illegally used UBC equipment to run her radio station.

The minister of security, Muruli Mukasa, has since been assigned to run the dockets of Presidency and Kampala Affairs in addition to his. And the Minister of Lands Daudi Migereko is also acting as the Chief Whip. All these point at one thing, all ministers can do more.

So one thing that Parliament has done is blocking the appointment of four ministers which created vacant positions and when some ministers stepped aside they grew to nine.

dmukholi@newvision.co.ug
David Mukholi

 

What has Parliament done?

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author