Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has explained why parliament is still open while responding to those questioning this decision.
“I am hearing of people questioning why Parliament is still sitting amidst the Covid19 pandemic,” she said during Thursday plenary.
“However, I don’t know how Government would have laid the Budget, if Parliament were not sitting.”
“I don’t know how they would have laid their Statutory Instruments if Parliament were closed. I don’t know where they would present the supplementary requests if Parliament were closed,” she went on.
So, the Government should appraise itself on the obligations of Parliament to the country.
Secondly, Kadaga reiterated that if there are persons who have travelled in the recent past and have not been tested; they must do so.
Yesterday, one MP said South Africa had not been singled out as a high-risk area.
“But we all know that Dubai was not mentioned anywhere as a high risk area.”
It has however accounted for almost 90 percent of the infections in this country.
“If you have been out of the country, please ensure that you get checked.”
According to Kadaga, some MPs have argued that issuance of directives, which are not backed by force of law, risks posing legal challenges.
“Some of them are questioning how we have a curfew, without first declaring a state of emergency.”
Kadaga told MPs that last Friday, the President invited top leaders of the three branches of government; the Chief Justice and his Deputy; and the Prime Minister, among others to a meeting.
“It was the position of the Chief Justice and I that we should declare a State of Emergency in light of the Covid19 pandemic.”
However, objections emanated from one of the Cabinet ministers.
The President was told that it was not necessary; that they could operate under the Public Health Act.
However, this is a matter that’s beyond the Ministry of Health.
Kadaga appealed to the government to look carefully at Article 110 of the Constitution; in particular (b) and (c) on “State of emergency”.
110. STATE OF EMERGENCY
(1) The President may, in consultation with the Cabinet, by proclamation, declare that a state of emergency exists in Uganda, or any part of Uganda if the President is satisfied that circumstances exist in Uganda or in that part of Uganda—
(a) in which Uganda or that part of it is threatened by war or external aggression;
b) in which the security or the economic life of the country or that part is threatened by internal insurgency or natural disaster; or
c) which render necessary the taking of measures which are required for securing the public safety, the defence of Uganda and the maintenance of public order and supplies and services essential to the life of the community.