Kampala- The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, has asked the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) opposition party to allow the current standing committee heads to serve for two and half year before they are transferred .
The Speaker cited the rules of procedure and guided that the affected accountability committees are presently handling and finalising reports on various matters before them.
The affected committees are: The Commissions, State Enterprises and Statutory Authorities committee chaired by Abdu Katuntu, the Public Accounts Committee chaired by Angelline Osegge and the Local Government Accounts committee chaired by Reagan Okumu.
They were replaced by Mubarak Munyagwa, Nathan Nandala Mafabi and Judith Franca Akello respectively.
Speaking during plenary at Parliament yesterday, Ms Kadaga said changing their leadership at this point will delay the reporting on those matters.
“Whereas the FDC party is empowered under rule 157 to make changes in leadership of standing committees, I believe the timing of these changes is not favourable to the smooth operation of those committees and especially parliamentary business.”
The Speaker’s directive means that the existing committee chairpersons and their deputies will not handover power until December.
Early this month, FDC president Patrick Amuriat Oboi drawing from the power his party’s constitution grants him, made changes to the leadership of the Opposition in Parliament. The Speaker’s ruling however, did not affect the new Opposition leadership in Parliament.
Mr Oboi replaced Winfred Kiiza with the Gulu Woman MP Betty Aol Ocan, maintained Ibrahim Ssemmuju Nganda, the Kira Municipality Member of Parliament (MP) as the Opposition Chief Whip and Tonny Ayo as the deputy Opposition Whip.
Mr Oboi selected Francis Mwijukye to be FDC’s new representative in the Parliamentary Commission, to replace Ms Cecilia Atim Ogwal, the Dokolo District Woman MP.
According to the Administration of Parliament Act, MPs in the Commission serve for two-and-a-half years.
“…the appointment of honourable Mwijukye cannot be effective since Dokolo Woman MP, Ms Cecilia Ogwal has not served for the two-and-a-half years…” Ms Kadaga said.
The Speaker’s directive comes after National Resistance Movement (NRM’s) reshuffled its Sessional committee leadership in the House. Sessional committee heads are changed every year while Standing committee chaired by Opposition are changed every two-and-half years.
Regarding Mr Oboi’s appointment of Mr William Nzoghu, the Busongora North MP, as the Opposition’s representative to the Pan African Parliament, Ms Kadaga said the term of representatives to the PAP runs concurrently with the term of Parliament of their home countries, which is five years.
She noted that a seat of a representative to PAP could be vacant if the representative either dies, resigns in writing to the President of PAP, is unable to perform his or her duties, is removed because of misconduct or ceases to be an MP, among other reasons.
Consequently, Ms Kadaga said the appointment of Mr Nzoghu is not tenable.
Meanwhile, outgoing LoP yesterday handed over office to her successor and immediately retreated to the back bench.
Speaking after the handover, Ms Ocan warned that divisions in the Opposition will undermine the efforts to wrest power from Mr Museveni and called upon Opposition MPs to unite. “When we are together, we are going to achieve but divided, we are going to be overwhelmed with what we have to do,”Ms Ocan said.