National Resistance Movement (NRM) Members of Parliament (MPs) have expressed mixed reactions on the resolution made in the party caucus yesterday morning that members interested in debating the Nation Address do register with the government chief whip.
Parliament received the State of the Nation Address last month from President Museveni. Yesterday Leader of Opposition Nandala Mafabi gave his response to the address formally on the floor of Parliament. Members of Parliament will begin a debate on the address today.
The Deputy government chief whip and the coordinator of registering the NRM members to debate David Bahati has said that the idea is to improve efficiency of the utilization of the time in house and give an opportunity to as many MPs as possible to express themselves.
He added that it also gives an opportunity for MPs to carry out research on areas of interest and that it is voluntary and not forced on any one.
Bahati explained that Parliament has 386 members and without a strategy on how to utilize the time, some members would end up dominating the house debates and others not contributing at all.
He noted that this has to stop because it has implications on the way people perceive their representation in the house.
Ntungamo Municipality MP Yona Musinguzi is against it saying that registering before they talk in Parliament is not enshrined anywhere in the Constitution of Uganda and in the Rules of Procedure of Parliament.
Musinguzi also noted that if it is about time, then Parliament should stop the recesses that MPs have within sessions and debate the issues concerning the nation fully.
MP Mutyabule Florence Woman representative Namutumba welcomed the idea saying that it will help members who want to contribute and not usually catch the speaker’s eye.
She refutes the argument that member’s right to expression would be limited saying that every member who wants to talk shall talk.
MP Florence Andiru Nebanda representing Butaleja supports the idea because it will get members involved in participation and legislation but cautioned the government chief whip not to forget that MPs are adults who can make their own decisions.
MP Muwuma Milton representing Kigulu South said that the idea emanated from the business committee of Parliament and that it is aiming at seeing that both the opposition and NRM have to share the time when it comes to debating on the Nation Address and Budget Speech as well.
The debate on the State of the Nation Address starts this afternoon in Parliament and David Bahati the deputy government chief whip notes that he has already registered over 80 members to debate.