Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has rejected the new Bill that seeks to provide for the election of the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Opposition Chief Whip, deputy Opposition Chief Whip and the dean of independents through secret ballot.
The Administration of Parliament (Amendment) 2019 Bill was tabled in Parliament by Andrew Baryayanga (Kabale Municipality) and Medard Lubega Sseggona (Busiro East) on Tuesday last week. FDC spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju said the party would not support the Bill and asked all MPs elected on the party ticket to follow suit.
“The Bill goes against the Commonwealth practice that recognises the ruling party and the party in opposition. Unfortunately, in Uganda every party that sits in opposition is Opposition,”
Ssemujju said He added that the Bill was dangerous because it seeks to detach MPs from their political party headquarters, which causes confusion.
“We shall be presenting our views on this Bill to the relevant committee of Parliament which is processing it,” Ssemujju said.
Ssemujju made the remarks during the FDC weekly press briefing at the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi, Wakiso district yesterday. The Bill highlights the need to change the way in which members of the Parliamentary Commission are designated. Parliament wants to have lawmakers who are answerable to their peers who elected them and not their parties.
Under the current Bill, the president of the biggest party in the opposition will have his or her powers cut since he/she will not have powers to make direct changes in any parliamentary sitting committee. The party leader will not also have powers to change the Opposition Chief Whip and the Leader of Opposition in Parliament.
According to the Bill all elected leaders in the opposition will serve a full term of five years and will be eligible to be changed on grounds like mental incapacity and conduct deemed prejudicial to the image of Parliament.
“FDC being the leading opposition party in the country feels entitled to the privileges that come with being the major opposition party. The feeling that the Bill is undermining its privileges cannot be tolerated,” Semujju added.