The Kyankwanzi NRM Parliamentary Caucus retreat today resolved to make reforms in the election of commissioners of parliament to have them elected by the NRM Caucus instead of the Party CEC. MPs claim commissioners of parliament have failed to address their welfare because they are not accountable to them since they have no hand in their election.
The retreat has also prohibited MPs from moving private member’s bills without the blessing of the government.
The 10-day retreat of members of NRM Parliamentary Caucus at National Leadership Institute – NALI Kyankwanzi which was graced by the party chairperson Gen Yoweri Museveni has come to an end today with 24 resolutions adopted. According to the chief government whip Denis Hamson Obua, the caucus discussed the implementation of the Parish Development model and Emyooga Program extensively. It resolved that recoveries under the PDM shall be due after 24 Months while under the Emyooga Program, recoveries shall be due after 12 months.
The caucus also resolved to bar legislators from the ruling party from moving private members’ bills in parliament. Obua explained that the proposal which was introduced by the attorney general was endorsed by the retreat on establishing that it will save the party from clashes between NRM MPs and state agencies.
Reforms in the election of parliamentary commissioners were also proposed and adopted by the Kyankwanzi meeting as MPs want commissioners to be elected by the Caucus instead of the Central Executive Committee CEC.
We have established from NRM legislators that by being appointed by the CEC, backbench commissioners have not been accountable to MPs whose welfare is their business. This angered MPs and recommended the CEC adopt the amendment of the party’s rules of procedure.
Currently, under the administration of parliament act, NRM designates three of the four backbench commissioners who are nominated from MPs; these include Solomon Silwany MP Bukooli Central, Esther Afoyochan Woman MP Zombo District, Prossy Akampulira Woman MP Rubanda District; while the opposition has a single slot which fell vacant after censure of Francis Zzaake. However, legislators are concerned that the current set of commissioners has not addressed their welfare issues, especially issues to do with fuel allowances which MPs want to be enhanced after a rapid increase in fuel prices.
Kole North MP Dr. Samuel Opio Acuti an Independent but an NRM lenient says the idea is not bad since democracy is at play.
Acuti said It is democracy if NRM wants MPs to elect their own Parliament commissioners.
“We all know that we live in a democratic dispensation ’’ and one of the principles of NRM is a democracy, therefore if the caucus says they would want to vote their own commission it’s okay.
To address the concerns of legislators regarding fuel allowances, the Administration of parliament act should be amended to ensure that members of Parliament are given proportionate fuel allowances. The amended act should clearly define the criteria for determining the amount of fuel allowance that an MP is entitled to, including factors such as the cost of fuel in different regions, the distance of an MP’s constituency from the capital, and the size of the constituency. This would ensure that MPs from other parts of the country receive fuel allowances that are proportionate to their needs. The amended act should also provide for more accountability and transparency in the disbursement of fuel allowances. This would ensure that fuel allowances are used only for their intended purpose and that MPs do not misuse these funds.
Among other business at Kyankwanzi, the party leadership strongly cautioned MPs who continue to go against party positions on the floor of parliament and end up embarrassing the government. According to the NRM Caucus chairperson, Herbert Kinobere, such Indiscipline is not going to be tolerated in the party.
The caucus also discussed and supported the government’s strategy on the Coffee Chain Value addition strategy which is expected to revive the controversial coffee agreement between the government and Uganda Vinci Coffee Company.