MPs want PM, ministers reshuffled for missing plenary

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Hon. Jacob Oboth Oboth

Members of Parliament raised dust on Thursday in the house after the prime minister of the country and ministers missed plenary again.

Lwemiyaga County MP Hon Theodore Ssekikubo raised the concern following the absence of the Prime Minister to respond to questions during “Prime Minister’s Time”.

West Budama County South MP Hon Oboth Oboth picked up the thread saying, “We may be here when there has been a reshuffle in cabinet. It cannot be that only these present are the Ministers we have.”

Finance and Planning minister Hon David Bahati came to their rescue saying he had just spoken to Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda.

“Today, we had a budget conference and the Prime Minister is representing the Vice President. The Premier wrote asking for permission that he won’t be available today,” Bahati told the house.

Chairing plenary, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga was not convinced by the explanation.

“There is more than one minister in Prime Minister’s office. Even if there are events taking place, this is only 45 minutes,” Kadaga said.

She added: “He could have excused himself and come here. Thursday is time for members’ business.”

In May this year, Kadaga promised to name and shame absentee ministers and MPs who have perennially missed plenary and committee sittings.

Kadaga said this while holding a live Tweet Chat in her boardroom at Parliament to discuss about the performance of the House in the 2nd session ending in June.

Kadaga said she had prepared the list of absentees and will this week issue letters to the affected members.

“Last month, I was irked by the perennial absenteeism of MPs and vowed to name and shame them. It annoys when the ministers and MPs clock in the Parliament digital machine, they sit in for 5 minutes and go for  other businesses. The same applies to committees, they just sign in the attendance books and go for private businesses,” she said.

She added: “I have noted with concern line ministers of government Ministries and Agencies (MDAs) missing committee and Parliament plenaries without genuine reasons. This affects Parliament business.”

On April 24, Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah expressed dismay by cabinet ministers who skip House business, thus paralysing Parliamentary activities.

That was after the plenary was hardly attended by cabinet ministers when the Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa was forced to respond to all issues in the absence of the line ministers.

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