Wednesday August 6 2014

Penalise MPs over absenteeism

The recent annulment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act by the Constitutional Court speaks volumes as to the modus operandi of our Members of Parliament. Issues of quorum have been perennial in the 9th Parliament. The Deputy Speaker too is on record over the same issue and some Members of Parliament had also threatened to take their fellow parliamentarians to court over absenteeism.
It is suspected and alleged that various laws have been passed without due consideration to quorum. Actions such as these are not surprising considering the caliber of some of our so called ‘Honourable’ Members of Parliament. Failure by MPs to perform their core function is tantamount to cheating and exploiting the very people they claim to represent. A majority of MPs have now become a yoke to the Ugandan taxpayer considering the amount of money needed to sustain them whether they make appearance in Parliament or simply hang around in the corridors. Intriguingly, it is reported that on the day the Anti-homosexuality Bill was passed, over 125 MPs signed the register but most of them vanished into thin air and did not turn up for voting hence failing to raise quorum of a third of the August House. This is a naked exposure of the integrity deficiency of our MPs. Have our legislators degenerated into con men? It is a shame!
By that as it may, the 50 per cent of costs awarded to the petitioners (likely to be in huge millions) by the Constitutional Court in the recent Anti-Homosexuality case are painfully going to be paid by government using taxpayers’ money. One can only imagine what these monies would have done to improve service delivery that the said MPs claim to advocate for.
As to why the Speaker, a renowned advocate and mentor to a number of prominent lawyers fell into the trap of passing the law without quorum, is baffling to say the least.
As Ugandans we ought to weed out those parliamentarians that have turned Parliament into a market place for conducting business, where they only appear to sign the registers then disappear into thin air.

Cissy N Kagaba,