Monday June 24 2013

House reconvenes tomorrow to tackle congested agenda

By Yasiin Mugerwa

Legislators reconvene tomorrow to deal with a clogged agenda in the House. Top on the agenda will be the consideration of a controversial supplementary request in which the government is asking Parliament to approve an additional Shs46.9b needed to pay salary arrears for teachers, health workers and other public servants, who have not been paid for months.

Parliament’s Appointments Committee will also sit this week to vet former army commander Gen Aronda Nyakairima, who was recently posted to the Internal Affairs docket. However, unless Gen Aronda retires from the army it is unlikely that he will be approved by the committee.

The Public Accounts Committee report on the abuse of foreign aid in the Office of the Prime Minister will also be tabled on the floor and debated for the House to take decision on senior bureaucrats implicated in the report.

A leaked report recommended that several officials be held responsible for their roles in the misuse of more than Shs50b meant for the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan project in northern Uganda and Karamoja sub region.

The legislation that seeks to criminalise homosexuality is expected to be debated in the third session of the House. The committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs will table its report on the Anti-Gay Bill for the third reading before it is passed or rejected by the House. The Daily Monitor is reliably informed that the Committee completed its work and what is remaining is to get space on the order paper. The donors have threatened more aid cuts if Parliament passes the Bill but MPs have vowed to pass the Bill.

The MPs will also complete the consideration of the Public Order Management Bill, 2012. According to government the Bill is necessary to protect public order. This is against a background of increased demonstrations.

However, the opposition politicians are against the Bill, they say seeks to muzzle dissent and infringe on peoples rights. The opposition argues that passing the Bill means restoring powers of police to prohibit which were annulled by the Constitutional Court.

The Bill was handled half-way and key amendments were made to the original text and more amendments are expected.