Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has re-echoed her hope for Parliament of Uganda to elect its commissioners and appoint the Clerk to Parliament.
She made the remarks on Wednesday, 22nd November 2017 while addressing a visiting delegation of Commissioners from the Nigerian National Legislative Assembly at her chambers in Parliament.
The commissioners were led by Dr. Paul Oweh and included Barrister Oluwafunmilola Lamuye; Senator Dahiri Gassol; Joseph Okpa Oru; Stephen Yepwi; Abubakar Aliyu and Lipede Oshikhena.
The Speaker said that backbench MPs had pushed for the autonomy the Commission enjoys today.
“However, under the Rules of Procedure of Parliament, the four commissioners are chosen by the political parties and the Clerk to Parliament is still appointed by the President,” said Kadaga.
The Parliamentary Commission was established by the Administration of Parliament Act in 1997. The Commission, a body corporate, with the responsibility for the organisation and strategic guidance of the Parliament is chaired by the Speaker of Parliament, and comprises the Deputy Speaker, Leader of Government Business/Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Leader of the Opposition, and four back bench commissioners elected by fellow legislators.
Kadaga said that it would be better to have someone senior from within the Parliamentary Service to be appointed as the Clerk to Parliament.
The Speaker was responding to some of the observations made by the Nigerian Commissioners concerning the functioning of the Parliamentary Commission of Uganda in comparison to the Commission of the Nigerian Legislative Assembly.
Dr. Oweh said that there is a remarkable difference between the functioning of both Commissions and that that of Uganda enjoys more autonomy.
“The difference is that our Commission is made up of people appointed from outside Parliament from six regions of the country; 13 members with 2 from each region and the Chairperson; whereas the Commissioners in Uganda are MPs who are picked by their parties,” Oweh said.
He also added that the Commission of the Nigerian Legislative Assembly does not dictate its Budget but rather the Assembly decides and appropriates on its behalf.
Dr. Oweh said that they plan to incorporate some of the ideas they have learnt from Uganda into their own system.
The Nigerian Commissioners are on a one-week benchmarking visit to the Parliament of Uganda from 20th to 26th November 2017.