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MPs Want Vote for Backbench Parliamentary Commissioners

The Parliamentary Commission, a body responsible for the administration and strategic guidance of the Parliament of Uganda is composed of the Speaker of Parliament who serves as its chairperson, the Deputy Speaker, the Leader of Government Business, Leader of Opposition, the Minister of Finance and four backbench Members of Parliament.
Some of the new members of the tenth parliament.

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Members of Parliament are demanding for an amendment to rule 11 (4) (f) of the parliamentary rules of procedure to provide for the election of backbench members to the parliamentary commission.

The Parliamentary Commission, a body responsible for the administration and strategic guidance of the Parliament of Uganda is composed of the Speaker of Parliament who serves as its chairperson, the Deputy Speaker, the Leader of Government Business, Leader of Opposition, the Minister of Finance and four backbench Members of Parliament.

However, as it stands, the rule stipulates that backbench members of the commission shall be designated by their party whips.

During their ongoing orientation for members of the tenth parliament, members demanded that the rule be amended to create room for a level playing field among legislators who would like to serve in the commission.

Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba said that commissioners that are designated pay allegiance to people who designate them rather than the legislature as an arm of government.

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During the eighth parliament, commissioners were elected by members of parliament. However, towards the end of their term, a National Resistance Movement (NRM) parliamentary caucus meeting in Kyankwanzi surrendered the power of designating commissioners to the NRM Central Executive Committee.

Former parliamentary commissioner, Hamson Obua noted that this was a wakeup call to the tenth parliament since every parliament decides on its rules of procedure.

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Bukoto East MP Florence Namayanja says the current provision is a disadvantage to opposition political parties whose numerical strength in parliament is still weak.

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Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga noted that if commissioners were elected, members of smaller parties in the House could become commissioners.

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The Administration of Parliament Act provides for the roles of the parliamentary commissioners being determining the welfare of MPs, remuneration of MPs, appointment of parliamentary staff and other matters to do with administration in parliament.

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