The 11th Parliament’s unending recess has left many questioning whether it is time to revise parliament’s schedule to ensure productivity of Members of Parliament.
Last week, the deputy speaker, Anita Among announced that the House would go on leave for two weeks to enable members evaluate the impact of the Emyooga Programme in their constituencies.
It has been two months and seventeen (17) days since the 11th Parliament was constituted on May 20, 2021 with the election of the Speaker Jacob Oulanyah and his deputy.
For the time in office thus far, the August house has been away on recess for a month, the first two (2) weeks to disinfect the parliamentary buildings and another two weeks (2), they have termed as a working recess.
Political pundit and lawyer, Nicholas Opiyo said it’s high time conversations are held on the schedule of parliament. He called for a strict sense of regulation on how much time MPs must spend on parliamentary work and use of parliamentary time by MPs for private gain .
“Being an MP is the best part time job. Lawyers are in their law firms, doctors in private hospitals and parliament is now a part time job. We need to discuss the schedule of parliament being known, public and made a law,” Opiyo said.
He said that MPs work on a part time arrangement and yet attendance remains a challenge.
At the time they went on recess for the first time, representatives had only held one plenary session on top of statutory sittings for the budget speech, state of national address, election of speaker and deputy plus vetting of the cabinet.
But with all these in place, what then explains these breaks?
Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga said there is no government business meaning parliament has little to do.
Government chief whip Thomas Tayebwa said that the delay in appointing the cabinet delayed the legislative calendar but they have now presented it and work will start flowing.
“As a matter of fact, we have over 30 bills in the queue, so it is not true that we have no business,” Tayebwa said.
Mpuuga said that it is a question of government business and the opposition government has just been formed, meaning that they are just constructing theirs.