What you need to know:
- Ms Among argued that the move is not only meant plough sanity back into Parliament which she has been saying works for the ordinary people, but also compel legislators to respect voters and taxpayers’ money from which their salaries are drawn.
Parliament is in advanced stages of deciding on the House’s latest plan to trim allowances of lawmakers who persistently abscond plenary sittings the House Speaker has said.
The plan reiterated by Speaker Anita Among Wednesday during plenary will chiefly affect legislators who repeatedly dodge plenary sittings without the knowledge and clearance of the Speaker and office of her deputy, Mr Thomas Tayebwa.
Ms Among argued that the move is not only meant plough sanity back into Parliament which she has been saying works for the ordinary people, but also compel legislators to respect voters and taxpayers’ money from which their salaries are drawn.
The Speaker however, disclosed that the plan will be subjected to discussion before the Parliament’s business committee which she chairs and later be voted upon for the final decision.
The 11th Parliament has a total of 526 MPs. However, less than half of the number normally attends plenary.
“Members must know that they have to attend House, short of that, we will make a decision as a business committee on what should be done. Let's not waste taxpayers' money," Speaker Among said.
Besides monthly payment, every MP is entitled to Shs50,000 for very committee sitting that is attended and these are consolidated together with allowances for plenary sittings consolidated with their monthly pay.
A section of lawmakers that this publication has talked to welcomed the suggestion, stating that the proposal was timely since most of their colleagues skip plenary sessions with vague excuses.
The chairperson of the House Committee on Defense and Internal Affairs, Mr Wilson Kajwengye [Nyabushozi County] said his colleagues ought to focus on addressing the pains and concerns of their voters.
“Every time we attend plenary and are deliberating on laws and policies, we are representing our people and we earn for that. So if a Member of Parliament is not in the field or duty officially outside [Parliament], why would he or she skip plenary sitting? So I support the Speaker,” Mr Kajwengye said.
In the same way, Kalungu West MP, Mr Joseph Gonzaga Ssewungu said MPs are voted to represent people but many members don’t attend Parliament “and I have no query with that because I am not going to be among the victims?”
Revisiting the old trick
In November 2014, the former Speaker of Parliament Ms Rebecca Kadaga had threatened that her office would block allowances for all MPs who skip plenary sittings.