Which dead government official qualifies to lie in state?

Nelson Bwire Kapo

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has called upon government to provide a proper procedure through which dead officials will lie in state.

According to Kadaga, the current system is not streamlined and is based on posthumous technical know who.

People who are entitled to lay in state by right are the; sitting members of parliament, the president, members of cabinet and other high level serving members.

Now Kadaga says this has been violated time and again, leaving the burden to parliament hence straining their budget.

“For sometime now, parliament has been grappling with situations where we have not budgeted, people are brought here, communities are abandoned here and the clerk must find money to handle these matters,” she said.

Kadaga said that such issues arise from lack of streamlined procedure on who should lie in state.

“There has been selective laying here. Those who don’t have a strong lobby from cabinet are not brought here. So I again demand from government to give me the criteria for those who are not in the house who should come here so we know and inform the members,” she added.

The speaker said she has umpteen times written to the Prime Minister regarding the matter but got no positive reply.

“Since last parliament, I have written to the prime Minister to tell us who in addition to sitting members, leaders of the country and the president, is eligible to come here (Parliament) so we can prepare.”

Kadaga’s comments come against the heels of a recent debacle involving the late former Attorney General Peter Nyombi which put the executive and legislative arms of government at collusion course.

Nyombi died in October following heart failure at SAS Clinic along Bombo road in Kampala. Nyombi’s body would later be taken to parliament for a special session but Kadaga and her deputy were a no show, leaving the duty to the parliament clerk, Jane Kibirige, Prime Minister Rugunda and Usuk County MP Peter Ogwang.

Rugunda later addressed journalists dismissing the debacle as abrupt hence members would not be called back from recess, while government chief whip Ruth Nankabirwa, said, Parliament could not convene because both Kadaga and Oulanyah are away on official duty a statement that Kadaga has said is far from true.

In a statement Kadaga said thus; “It should be noted that the only persons entitled to lie in state and have a tribute are the sitting members of parliament and national leaders, like the president, and any others who the government will have proposed.”

“In the 9th parliament, on the 17th February 2014, I wrote to the Rt. Hon. prime minister and copied the principal private secretary to H.E. the president asking him to advise the speaker the category of other leaders or important persons that are entitled to lie in state because there is no criteria.”

“Up to today, I am still waiting for a reply to that letter. (The letter is hereby attached.) It is therefore not correct for the government chief whip to state that the reason the special sitting did not take place was because the speaker and deputy speaker were away on official business.”







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