Game of thrones, should have focused an episode on Ugandan parliament. Only difference is that our speakers fight sometimes for the “right thing” but the end game is promotion, popularity and little concern of the public or taxpayers money, we are collateral damage.
Deputy Speaker Oulanyah made the first move this year as he reversed the decision to expel senior journalists from parliament. The ‘evil letter’ written by Clerk to Parliament, an order from parliamentary commission headed by Kadaga expelling all senior journalists from parliament.
Speaker Kadaga reacted by calling for an editor’s meeting, sticking to her guns, asking them to change the journalists covering parliament, although she had valid reasons, she has no authority to tell editors who to assign what beats and who to pull out.
Kadaga hit below the belt as she made history setting into motion a process that could put her on a collision course with her Deputy Jacob Oulanyah after she controversially overturned his decision that Parliament would not handle issues about KCCA before a definitive resolution is made over the Lord Mayor’s fate. Speaker Kadaga ruled that her deputy’s decision was “personal”.
Deputy Speaker Oulanyah in December last year ruled that Parliament would not handle business about City Hall unless the government decisively settles the disputes surrounding the contested impeachment of city Mayor Erias Lukwago. A Ministerial committee led by the Premier Ruhakana Rugunda was set up to handle the matter amid skepticism from the Opposition.
However-matters about KCCA were again on the floor as the Junior Finance Minister Fred Omach rose to present budget estimates for the City Authorities for the 2015/16 financial year.
MPs’led by the Leader of opposition in Parliament Wafula Oguttu brought the matter of Parliament’s position to Ms Kadaga’s attention warning that handling KCCA issues violates procedural rules as the House had committed not to handle KCCA issues.
“I have extracts of the Hansard. On that day the [Deputy] Speaker advised government that we would not entertain any mater from KCCA until the political problems were solved. I would like to draw your attention to this and to ask this Parliament that we should respect our own decisions so that we are not a laughing-stock out there—when we say something let us respect it,” Mr Oguttu said.
What the Rules of procedure say:
Rule 78: “Decision of the Speaker or Chairperson” plainly instructs that the Speaker’s decision cannot be reviewed without a motion. Rule 78(2) states that: “The decision of the Speaker or Chairperson upon any point shall not be open to appeal and shall not be reviewed by the House except upon a substantive motion made after notice.
“What happened was not a decision of the [Deputy] Speaker but also a decision of the House. If as legislators, we are to observe our own rules of procedure, a matter to do with KCCA cannot be dealt with until a substantive motion has been moved,” Mr Nuwagaba argued.
But Ms Kadaga ignoring all the opposition’s concerns ruled saying that Oulanyah had taken the initiative not to preside over matters about KCCA.
“The issue the Deputy Speaker was talking about was his personal decision not to preside over any matter on KCCA until the issues of governance were resolved.I want us to be realistic-what if the [impeding KCCA] Bill was brought for First Reading today, will he then say we shall not consider it. Where else would we have the Bill done other than this House? The Deputy Speaker said in his own words, in his own name. He said Jacob Oulanyah would not preside over KCCA issues, “MS Kadaga ruled.
Extract from Hansard on 19th Dec
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Honourable members, this issue of KCCA has posed a difficult situation in this House not only once, but many times and for some reason it happens when I am in the Chair. (Laughter) It is not a good situation to chair when outstanding matters that are easy to solve continue to be a problem and pose a threat to the progress of debate in the House.
I had earlier made a directive to the government side that this matter of KCCA should be resolved so that when matters come from KCCA we are able to, in a bipartisan manner, handle them expeditiously. Today, I will state again that personally, – and this is for the record – if these matters of governance in KCCA are not resolved with finality, I will not be ready to preside over a matter involving KCCA again. (Applause)
This is because it is a stressful experience, there are legitimate concerns being raised and these concerns are genuine. We requested that the matters be resolved and they are not. Each time I sit here, I get headaches about these matters. So, whether the loan is approved or not, if by the time we resume in February next year, the matter of administration and governance in KCCA is not resolved, no matter should be brought to this House that has anything to do with KCCA and the House expects that Jacob Oulanyah will be presiding; I will not. (Applause) I will not, because I am only a human being and I cannot preside over the same thing over and over.
Rt Hon. Prime Minister, I urge you that by the time we resume in February next year, if you will not have resolved this matter of governance in KCCA, be put on notice; Jacob Oulanyah will not preside over any matter involving KCCA if these governance issues in KCCA remain outstanding
I would like your commitment that you will adhere to what I have just said.
The leader of Opposition sarcastically asked Speaker Kadaga to state the right time, when the speakers preside over the house as people and when they are speakers of Parliament n your Kadaga.
“I seek clarification Madam speaker, when are you Kadaga the person and when are you the speaker of Parliament while seated in that chair? “ asked LOP Oguttu.
As if that wasn’t enough Kadaga last week tasked the Rules Committee to check the Hansard there by reviewing Deputy speaker Oulanyah ‘s ruling on the report on a petition. Oulanyah had ruled adopting the committee report on a petition on Land eviction of people of Lwemiyaga after no MP rose to debate the report, it was then adopted. After the adoption, MPs’Nzoghu, Ssekikubo seek to review Parliament’s decision on its petition by Lwemiyaga County of Mar 3, 2015. MP Nzough and Ssekikubo, responsible for the monitory report begged the speaker to go back on his ruling to which Oulanyah rightly rejected, reminding them of time keeping.
The clash of the puppet masters continues, Deputy Speaker Oulanyah, your move!