Parliament yesterday passed its first Bill; The Administration of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2021, in which they erased former Speaker Rebecca Kadaga’s name from the parliamentary institute mandated to train legislators and Parliament staff.
Kilak North legislator Anthony Akol introduced the Bill that was passed in under one hour.
One of the members told Daily Monitor last evening that the reason for deleting Kadaga’s name from the Bill was “political and undisclosed”.
Ms Sarah Opendi, the Woman MP for Tororo, then moved a motion to suspend Rule 129 to send the Bill to the House Committee, which permitted for the immediate disposal of the Bill.
Following the passing of the Bill that now awaits Presidential assent, the institute will adopt the original name, Institute of Parliamentary Studies (IPS), ending the era of Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga Institute of Parliamentary Studies (RAKIPS).
RAKIPS was first started in 2012 as a department in Parliament under the name, Institute of Parliamentary Studies. In 2020, under the stewardship of Ms Kadaga, the 10th Parliament passed the Parliamentary Studies Act, 2020, making the institute semi-autonomous. The Amendment passed yesterday repealed this Act.
The Bill has also reversed the institute’s autonomy, absorbing all staff and resource mobilisation, assets, and obligations to the Parliamentary Service.
“The Bill also seeks to reduce the expenditure of the Parliamentary Commission in order to comply with government policy of rationalising government agencies by empowering the Parliamentary Commission to take over the functions currently performed by the Institute of Parliamentary Studies in order to efficiently and effectively provide training services to MPs and staff of the Parliamentary Commission in a cost effective manner,” the Bill reads in part.
The Bill, if assented to, will make the Deputy Speaker a member of the Parliamentary Commission.
According to the Amendment, the exclusion of the Deputy Speaker is erroneous in light of Article 82 of the Constitution and hinders the Parliamentary Commission from effectively carrying out its mandate, especially where the Speaker is unavailable to attend and preside over meetings of the Commission.
Mr Akol appreciated the house for shortening what he thought would be a long process to realign the operations of Parliament.
The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mr Mathias Mpuuga, warned that such an approach, especially the suspension of rules, should be carefully navigated in cases of dicey matters.
During yesterday’s parliamentary sitting, government also retabled the Succession (Amendment) Bill 2021, the Public Finance Management (Amendment) Bill, and the East African Crude Oil Pipeline [Special Provisions]. The contentious Succession Bill had been returned by the President for reconsideration, after it was passed by the 10th Parliament early this year. Government was, however, forced to retable the Bill after pending business from the previous Parliament was annulled by Speaker Jacob Oulanyah. Ms Among Yesterday, forwarded the Bill to the Committee on Parliamentary and Legal Affairs which will consider, among other issues, the President’s proposals to carefully examine the most contentious clause 27 concerning the distribution of the properties of an intestate where a surviving spouse will now be entitled to 50 percent of the estates of a deceased spouse, up from the previous 15 percent.