Breaking

NRM-DP Tie: House Sitting Arrangement, Whipping Role Upset Opposition

the Leader of Opposition – LoP, Mathias Mpuuga, raised a procedural matter citing section nine of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament and sought guidance from the speaker on how Mao will sit on the Government side, yet DP legislators sit on the left.
10 Aug 2022 07:25
MPs attending plenary

Audio 3

The opposition is puzzled over the sitting arrangement in parliament and how to whip legislators from the Democratic Party– DP following the party’s cooperation agreement with the ruling National Resistance Movement- NRM party Government.

DP has nine legislators in the current parliament. The other parties with representation in parliament are the National Unity Platform – NUP, Forum for Democratic Change – FDC, Uganda People’s Congress – UPC, Justice and Equity Movement– JEMA and People’s Progressive Party – PPP. 

On July 20th 2022, the DP president General Norbert Mao signed a cooperation agreement with the NRM government under President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to mutually enforce ‘a strong, cohesive, united and inclusive Uganda.’

DP is bound by the pact to cooperate with the NRM in supporting the overall governance agenda, voting on matters of confidence, and working together in good faith to advance these shared goals, including any public statements.

Under the agreement, the President appointed Mao as the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Mao took the oath of secrecy on July 27th 2022 at State House Entebbe and, later took the oath as an ex-officio MP on August 2nd 2022.

//Cue in: “I, Norbert Mao …

Cue out:…help me God.”//

The speaker of parliament, Anita Among welcomed Mao, and Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, who also doubles as the head of Government business directed the Minister to sit on the right in the House. 

However, the Leader of Opposition – LoP, Mathias Mpuuga, raised a procedural matter citing section nine of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament and sought guidance from the speaker on how Mao will sit on the Government side, yet DP legislators sit on the left.

//Cue in: “I, Norbert Mao …

Cue out:…help me God.”//

Among explained that Mao would be legitimately be occupying the front seats in the Chambers by virtue of his appointment by the Government and will be serving in his capacity as an Ex-officio member in the House.

//Cue in: “Hon Mao can …

Cue out:…where to sit.”//

The LOP is the leader of the largest political party in that is not in government. The LoP appoints and heads a shadow cabinet whose duty is to offer alternative policies and influence governmental actions and legislation on the floor of Parliament.

During plenary, the sitting arrangement of members is done in relation to the Speaker’s Chair. Benches to the right of the Chair are reserved for members from the party in government while Opposition legislators take up benches to the left.

Ministers in the government and Shadow Ministers take up the front benches on either side of the Chair. In Uganda, independent MPs occupy seats to the left of the Speaker, while representatives of the army (UPDF) are free to take up any seats on either side of the Floor.

Under the Commonwealth Parliamentary practices, the Speaker, presiding over the plenary, takes up the Chair, which is situated in pole position, in the middle at one end of the Chamber. In front of the Speaker are two seats reserved for the Clerks, who provide technical assistance to the presiding officer.

According to Clause 16 of the Agreement, NRM and DP will work together in good faith and cooperate with each other in respect of Executive and Parliamentary activities to advance these shared goals, including any public statements.

It is against this background that political commentators argue that NRM got the DP whipped into total loyalty and submission, an arrangement that has now rendered the sitting arrangement in the House inconsequential.

Images 1

Entities

Keywords