The cabinet is yet again under fire from Parliament over rampant cases of absenteeism by ministers.
Presiding over the House session on April 24, the Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah said that no cabinet matter will be handled lest the ministers show cause to supporting business in Parliament.
“This House needs ministers to ransack business, there are answers that require urgent answers; how do we proceed?’ asked Oulanyah.
“When we come here, we receive urgent matters and the urgent matters are mainly in critical sectors; health, internal affairs, security and related matters. This should be known by all ministers,” the Deputy Speaker added.
He cautioned that the cabinet was leading Parliament into a situation where issues raised as matters of urgent national importance are glossed over, by the Government Chief Whip Ruth Nakabirwa.
He further warned that if there is no improvement, Parliament will not handle government business starting April 25.
For the Tuesday sitting, the Speaker said, unless Ms Nankabirwa calls the ministers to immediately come to Parliament, no government business would be handled, save for a motion by Mr Hamson Obua (private member) to honour athletes that won several medals in the 21st Commonwealth Games.
Mr Oulanyah was irked by the absence of ministers in the House, and all matters raised as urgent were only attended to by Ms Nankabirwa.
Kiira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda raised the matter to the Speaker, stressing that there are many cabinet ministers with deputies and that it was disappointing to have an empty front bench.
In her defense, Ms Nankabirwa said that she only acted because she had been called on by the Speaker.
To this, Mr Oulanyah said that he called on “government and not Government Chief Whip.”
“May be in the past, but today I have not called the Government Chief Whip; I have only called out on Government except if you are the government,” said Oulanyah.
“I want someone to handle the matter comprehensively and not coming to talk to me, and if you are not competent on the matter, remain seated,” he added.
At the time, several MPs including Buhweju County’s Francis Mwijukye, Godfrey Macho (Busia Municipality) and Arinda Gordon Kakuuna (Ishaka Municipality) had raised issues pertaining the security situation in the country.
None of the line ministers was in the House.
The House told Ms Nankabirwa to keep in her lane.
Only three ministers were present, Karooro Okurut (General Duties), David Bahati (Planning) and Ruth Nakabirwa herself.
Ms Nankabirwa apologized.
“Indeed it is a challenge that we have members that do not attend cabinet and therefore we cause this House to waste time; it is regrettable,” she said.
Ms Nankabirwa told Parliament that she tries “as much as possible” to do her job but at times situations run out of hand.
The Deputy Speaker has often asked the Cabinet to play its part especially when it comes to Parliamentary duties.
Credit: Daily Monitor