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Ugandan Parliament Ranked Low in Oversight and Transparency

Uganda’s Parliament has been poor in its oversight role, transparency and integrity by the Second Edition of African Parliamentary Index (API) report despite registering a slight improvement in the overall score with 82.9 percent from the 80.4 percent in the API First Edition.
Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah responds to the parliament index that criticizes the house on transparency.

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Uganda’s Parliament has been poor in its oversight role, transparency and integrity by the Second Edition of African Parliamentary Index (API) report despite registering a slight improvement in the overall score with 82.9 percent from the 80.4 percent in the API First Edition.

 

Among the six core assessed thematic areas assessed, Uganda's Parliament was found wanting in its transparency and oversight role requiring significant improvements.

 

The index is a report of an assessment of the performance of Seven African Parliament by their MPs and staff, the First Edition having been launched in Nairobi Kenya in 2011.

 

Other areas in which the Parliaments were assessed are, legislative and financial functions in which Uganda performed highly and the high performance was noted to be indicative of a strong parliament resulting from provisions and empowerment it receives from its 2001 Budget Act, which establishes a Parliamentary Budget Office and details the procedures.

 

Other assessed areas were representation and institutional capacity were Parliament was ranked moderate and also requiring improvement.

 

This Year’s Edition which is the Second has been launched today in Kampala by the Deputy Speaker of parliament Jacob Oulanyah.

 

 Jacob Oulanyah, the Deputy Speaker said that the Report helps African Parliaments to weigh their capabilities and find ways of improving where they are found weak.

 

He noted that in the recently hosted 126th IPU which had a theme of bridging the gap, Parliament and the people which he said that it implied that there is a widening gap between Parliament and the People it represents.

 

Oulanyah tasked African MPs at the API launch to ask themselves if they still approve budgets that consistent with the general interests of the people and to what extent. He also wondered if the laws passed aim at facilitating the development of Africans or just controlling and regulating their lives and activities. 

 

He said that these are the major causes of the gap created between African Parliaments and their people.

 

//Cue in: “are the policies we approve…

Cue out:…that a democracy is a government”//

 

On transparency, the report was looking at declaration of assets by legislators, the code of conduct and whether in the MPs’ or legislator’s course of work, integrity and transparency is exhibited as well as in their conduct so that the public has confidence in them.

 

On oversight, the report looked at whether Parliaments make sure that governments are accountable to the people in the budget process, whether they ensure that governments are proceeding well and they do not actually over spend what is appropriated in the budgets passed.

 

On representation, the report assessed the manner in which MPs are able to articulate the concerns of their constituents on the floor of Parliament through raising motions and questions.

 

On institutional capacity, the Index focused on human resource, ICT, well equipped libraries and others.

 

Dr, Rasheed Draman, the Director of Africa Programs at Parliamentary Centre in Accra said that the overall findings showed by the Index show some improvements in the performance of the assessed Parliaments.

 

He observed that the findings from the seven Parliaments as unique as they show a wide range of good practices that could be the subject of peer learning but also noted that they have weaknesses that could be the subject of internal reforms.

 

Draman said that partner Parliaments having seen the value of regular self-assessment of their respective performances would integrate the findings of the API into their activities and make resources available to address the gaps in order to increase their effectiveness, efficiency and relevance.

 

//Cue in: “we designed the index….

Cue out:…..all your Parliaments have”//

 

The Seven African Parliaments assessed under the API were Benin, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

 

The overall performances of the seven Parliaments were ranked high, moderate/fair and low.

 

Overall API Score for the National Assembly of Benin is 64.01 percent, compared to the 60.80 percent in the previous report, Ghana’s overall score is 65.10 percent registering a drop 0f 2.6 percent from the first API assessment, Kenya scored 73.80 percent making an improvement over the previous 69.52 percent, Senegal’s National Assembly scored 70.18, a slight drop from the First Edition’s score of 71.48, Tanzania scored 71.30 percent a drop from the previous score of 74.1 percent, and Zambia scored 64.82 percent registering a slight improvement compared to the previous 62.6 percent. 

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