With hours to the scheduled meeting, Dr Denis Mugimba, the spokesperson of the education ministry, says that the invitation was not extended to parliament as an institution but rather members of parliament as leaders and stakeholders in the education sector.
The Ministry of Education and Sports has clarified on the
scheduled meeting between its officials led by Minister Janet Museveni, and the
Members of Parliament.
Last week, the Opposition in Parliament objected to a
request by Ms Museveni to meet Members of Parliament at Kololo Independence
Grounds to discuss the planned re-opening of schools early next year.
Several legislators interpreted the invitation as an act
of summoning and undermining the independence of the House yet under the rules,
the Minister has a duty to appear before parliament and make a statement on any
matter and later legislators can debate on it.
With hours towards the scheduled meeting, Dr Denis
Mugimba, the spokesperson of the education ministry, says that the invitation
was not extended to parliament as an institution but rather members of
parliament as leaders and stakeholders in the education sector.
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Mugimba made the remarks while addressing journalists at
Uganda Media Centre on Tuesday afternoon.He appealed that the general public and
parliamentarians should not misinterpret the purpose of the meeting.
He added that as a ministry they have been carrying out
several consultative meetings with different stakeholders and MPs being leaders
in different areas thought it would be paramount to solicit inputs from them as
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Mugimba adds that although the meeting will be chaired by
the education minister, MPs will be interacting with different department and
directorate heads in the ministry and other agencies which are key in the
school reopening process.
Asked why the minister chose to host legislators at Kololo instead
of presenting a statement in house, Mugimba noted although the minister would
like to do so, the COVID-19 restriction at parliament makes it difficult since a
limits a sitting to a given number of MPs yet the ministry would like to
capture as many views as possible.
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However, even with the explanation given, the leader of
opposition in parliament, Mathias Mpuuga Nsamba notes that if MPs agree on
attending the meeting, it will set a precedent where different ministers will
stop attending parliamentary sitting.
“Aren’t we opening up a Pandora’s box where ministers
will decline to come to parliament?” Mpuuga asked while debating on the matter
during today’s plenary sitting.
With MPs discussing whether they will attend or not, the
ministry of education has already laid out preparation for the function with those
who wish to attend the meeting already undergoing COVID-19 testing.
In the same development, Kololo ceremonial grounds that
serves as the National identification and registration authority-NIRA
headquarters hosting hundreds of Ugandans daily to process their indentation
documents has already been closed in preparation for the function.