The Tenth parliament has performed better in its first session compared to the previous despite the perennial absence of ministers and legislators during sittings. The Hansard shows that the tenth parliament has so far enacted 18 laws, approved 18 loans for external borrowing, debated 57 ministerial statements and granted permission to four legislators to introduce private members bills.
The proposed private members bills include the National Graduate Service Bill, 2016, the National Community Works Bill, 2016, the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the Local Content Bill, 2017. In its first year, the ninth parliament enacted 11 laws, approved 7 loans for external borrowing, received and debated 35 ministerial statements and approved a single motion for the private member’s bill.
Some of the laws enacted by the tenth parliament include the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2016, The Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2016, The Insurance Bill, 2016, The Uganda Communications (Amendment) Bill, 2016, The Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2017, The Lotteries and Gaming (Amendment) Bill, 2017 among others.
Despite the impressive performance exhibited by the Tenth parliament, the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has no kind words for absentee legislators and ministers, which often affects business in the house.
She warns to impose sanctions on perpetual absentees. According to Article 83(1) (d) of the constitution, any legislator who misses 15 consecutive sittings of the house without the Speaker’s assent automatically loses his or her seat.
Speaking about the poor attendance of ministers, Musa Ecweru, the State Minister for Refugees and Disaster Preparedness, defended himself, saying that he is always on the move to deal with situations of hunger and refugee management. He however, says that he endeavors to appear in the house whenever a report is required from him.
Atkins Katusabe, the Bukonjo County West MP describes the absenteeism of ministers that has marred the first session of the tenth parliament as a tragedy and national scandal.
Anna Adeke Ebaju, the National Female Youth MP, says some of the legislators opt to skip parliament sittings to lobby for their constituents.
Charles Angiro Gutumoi, the Erute County North MP, says most of the new legislators are battling very huge loans forcing them to find other sources of income to survive.