MPs go into recess for primaries

Friday August 20 2010

By Mercy Nalugo

The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward Ssekandi, yesterday sent Parliament into recess to allow time for the legislators to campaign in their party primaries.
The MPs are expected back in Parliament on September 13 to pass budgets for the various government sectors.

Mr Ssekandi told MPs that the NRM and opposition parties had agreed to break off for three weeks. NRM elects its leaders on August 31 while the Forum for Democratic Change Party elections are due for early September.

He said many committees had not produced their reports which hindered them from passing the budget. The Prime Minister, Prof Apolo Nsibambi, said ministry budgets would not be affected by the MPs’ absence from Parliament since they passed the vote-on-account appropriation which should be used in the meantime.

“Ministries will spend a third of the money which they should have used. There are political activities taking place and cannot just be ignored,” he said. Parliamentary business has been affected for the last three weeks with only a handful of MPs attending the House proceedings.

Mr Ssekandi was yesterday forced to adjourn Parliament for 15 minutes after he found only one MP at 11am. Parliament had hoped to pass the budget by August 30 but had not anticipated the ongoing campaigns.

The Leader of Opposition, Prof Ogenga Latigo, told Daily Monitor after the plenary that they have up to the end of September to pass the budget. “We will appropriate on schedule because all we are waiting for is to receive reports from the various parliamentary committees and give ministries their money. We would have done bad to pass the budget by mere pronouncements,” Prof Latigo said.