The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has outlined key points of action for Parliament’s progress in the next year.
At the official launch of the Annual Legislative Sector Review at Hotel Africana, Kadaga said Parliament should have a clear strategy on deepening citizen involvement in legislation, opening up the Appointments Committee and spreading out Parliament’s committee work to the countryside.
Kadaga asked the technocrats at Parliament, headed by Clerk Jane Kibirige, to fast track the developments.
“I’m still waiting for the matter that we have been trying to do for many years; we agreed that we should have an application where the citizens would speak to us directly [when considering Bills or motions] so that they don’t have to come to Kampala,” said Kadaga.
Going forward, said Kadaga, Parliament will have to make deliberate efforts to ensure reports from the Inspector General of Government (IGG) are debated and conclusively handled.
Disposing of the report from the IGG, said Kadaga, will complete the cycle in the fight against corruption and impunity, which she said is stalled because Parliament has not been debating the recommendations and offering way forward.
“I have not seen a report from the House on the report of the IGG…that is one of the areas where I would like to see some change,” she said.
Open vetting of Parliament nominees, something that has been craved for long by a section of the public and political activists, said Kadaga, should also be given serious considerations.
“On the open vetting of nominees, it is something I would really want but each time it is brought up for the debate, it is defeated; some people come and say the Speaker does not like me but I don’t know most of them and I have never seen you,” she said.
Vetting presidential nominees in the open, said Kadaga, would eliminate falsehoods that are peddled by those who fail to sail through and claim malicious witch hunt.
Chairpersons of committees should not be members of other committees, in a move she said would accord them sufficient time to handle their dockets effectively.
She also warned committees against being holed up in Kampala, saying their work should not just be about the top echelons in politics and civil service.
“I want to see committees getting to the people; get regional perspectives to the issues that you handle, it is not enough to interview the Minister or the PS,” she said.
The Clerk to Parliament, Ms Jane Kibirige, said the institution is battling resource constraints, and that the finance ministry has not been forthcoming in considering Parliament’s growing budget needs