By Denis Okot
Lawmakers have approved the four backbench commissioners representing the ruling party and the Opposition in the 11th Parliament.
Zombo district woman MP, Hon Esther Afoyochan who is serving her first term was among the three representatives nominated by the National Resistance Movement Party (NRM).
The other two are, Hon. Prossy Akampulira Mbabazi (Rubanda District woman MP) and Hon. Solomon Silwanyi (Bukooli County Central)
The MP for Mityana Municipality, Francis Zaake (NUP) will represent the Opposition.
According to the Parliament Rules of Procedure that were amended on 23 May 2019, backbench commissioners are nominated by the Government and Opposition Chief Whips before approval by the whole House.
The Government Chief Whip, Hon Thomas Tayebwa, nominated the NRM commissioners while the Opposition Chief Whip, Hon John Baptist Nambeshe nominated Zaake during a plenary sitting chaired by Deputy Speaker, Anita Among on Tuesday, 13 July 2021.
Dokolo District Woman MP, Hon. Cecilia Ogwal however, proposed that the Rules of Procedure should be amended to cater for the Independent on the Commission.
“Their interests are not being taken care of in the Commission yet they are being represented in international platforms,” Cecilia Ogwal said.
She added that as a result of lack of representation on the Commission, the independent MPs tend to seek redress from either the Clerk to Parliament, the Speaker or Deputy Speaker, which she said is not the right forum since it is the Commission which directly addresses the welfare of members.
“I know it will not be possible to address the matter now because we are complying to the rules as they stand now. I pray that the Committee on Rules reconsiders this because it is a command of our Rules of Procedure that we must take care of all members of all parties,” she said.
The Deputy Speaker advised Cecilia Ogwal to move a motion to address the issue.
“I am surprised that it is being brought now. In the 10th Parliament, we brought a motion and you shot it down. I advise that you bring a fresh motion because any of us is capable of being an independent,” said Among.
The term of office of the four backbench commissioners in the Parliamentary Commission is two and a half years.
The Commission, which is the top decision-making organ of Parliament comprises the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Leader of the Opposition and four backbench commissioners.