The parliament of Uganda on Friday passed the contentious Petroleum (Exploration, Development, and Production) bill into law bringing to rest the controversy surrounding clause 9 that gives the minister for Energy unrestricted powers to grant or revoke oil licenses.
The bill was passed with 149 Members of Parliament voting in favour while only 39 MPs voted against the bill, an indication that the ruling National Resistance Movement had used its overwhelming majority in the house to its advantage. 188 Members of Parliament were in attendance.
National Youth MP Monica Amoding, Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi, Rwampara MP Vincent Kyamadidi, Ibanda North MP Kyoma Xavier and Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo all of the ruling party refused to tow the party line and voted against.
Opposition MPs formed Majority of the lawmakers who opposed passing of the bill in its current form. Clause 9 of the bill also gives the minister powers to negotiate and endorse petroleum agreements.
Last week the speaker of Parliament Honorable Rebecca Kadaga was forced to suspend Parliament after proceedings in the house turned rowdy as Members of Parliament who opposed passing of the bill in its current form disrupted business.
Following the fracas, the Speaker ordered an investigation into the chaos that marred Parliament’s proceedings.
“I wish to therefore direct that the Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee looks into the unruly and disorderly behaviour of some the members who participated in the proceedings of yesterday,” Kadaga ordered
The MPs had failed to agree on whether to re-commit the controversial clause 9 after Minister Irene Muloni had proposed re committing of the clause. MPs on the Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas had amended the provisions.
On Wednesday President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni replaced his address to Parliament to attend a caucus meeting of the ruling National Resistance Movement MPs to try and inform the legislator of his party about the importance of passing the bill.
The legislators who opposed the clause say it is subject to manipulation and wanted that power vested in an independent Petroleum Authority.