Not this time. The Speaker of Parliament rejects attempts by some MPs to debate the utterances of the Deputy Speaker, saying she cannot allow such a discussion because she cannot force MPs to read.
The debate about MPs not reading widely and always debating and arguing from a less informed position is not new. It has always been raging among the elite and civil society activists until Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah expressed his frustration during a press conference last week.
The man from Omoro County didn’t only say he is tired of the ignorance with which the MPs articulate issues in the House, he actually said he doesn’t read the Hansard anymore. The Hansard is the official record of the House and it is only proper that the Deputy Speaker should read it to keep himself informed of what transpired in the House on days that he was not in the chair.
Now, the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, doesn’t seem to be happy with the utterances of her deputy. During a plenary session last week, Ms Kadaga shot down attempts by some MPs to debate the utterances of the Deputy Speaker, saying she cannot allow such a discussion because she cannot force MPs to read.
“If someone is ignorant of a topic, they should not debate it. They should leave it to people who are knowledgeable to debate, that is all,” she said. “I cannot force you people to read.”
Aruu County MP Odonga Otto had risen, seeking leave of the Speaker to allow a debate on Mr Oulanyah’s views.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Jacob Oulanyah, last week warned that lack of research amongst legislators is hampering the quality of debate in what he referred to as a “huge Parliament.”
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah.
PHOTO BY Geoffrey sseruyange