Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga yesterday ruled that the report by the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on the controversial ‘Age Limit’ Bill is authentic.
Kadaga’s ruling came after the suspension of the business of the House for her to ascertain the authenticity of the report after MPs led by Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo raised a procedural point questioning the report.
Ssekikubo said that two MPs including; Akello Rose Lilly and Mbabazi Akampurira who signed the committee report are also members of another sectoral committee of Parliament contrary to the Parliament Rules of Procedure that bar members from belonging to more than one sectoral committee.
He said that the two MPs are members of the Defence and Internal Affairs committee and, as such do not have the moral authority to sign a report of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee.
Also raised by Opposition MPs was that Akello had been participating in the activities of the Defence and Internal Affairs committee.
However, while delivering her ruling, Kadaga said that on the 29th of November, Parliament approved the designation of the two members in question to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.
In regard to Akello’s participation in a field visit conducted by the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee on 29th November, Kadaga said that the MP had already been given facilitation for the field visit to Katuna and that she needed to account for the facilitation she had received.
This decision by Kadaga was contested by Opposition MPs with their Shadow Attorney General Wilfred Niwagaba notifying the Speaker that he will be moving a substantive motion under Rule 86 (2) in challenge of her decision.
Niwagaba pleaded with Kagada to allow them space on the Order Paper tomorrow for him to present a motion and evidence that MP Akello Rose Lilly was not formally withdrawn from the defence and Internal Affairs Committee.
Niwagaba was supported by Ssekikubo and Budadiri West MP Nathan Nandala Mafabi who also told the Speaker that they had evidence that Akello and Akampurira were serving on both committees.
“On different occasions, the two members attended meeting of the Defence and Internal Affairs committee just after they had been elected. They must have been designated to this committee and this cannot be a coincidence,” said Mafabi.
Judith Nabakooba, the chairperson of the Defence and Internal Affairs committee told parliament that the committee’s field visit was between 23rd to 30th November 2017 and that these were the last days the two MPs under question participated on her committee.
She was, however, challenged by her committee member Gilbert Oulanya who revealed to parliament that both Akampurira and Akello continued to participate in the activities of the Defence and Internal Affairs committee.
“On 1st December 2017, the committee traveled to Kabale and Ntungamo and we travelled with Akello Lilly. Is the committee chairperson in order to say that she last participated on 30th November?” Oulanyah asked.
However, Kadaga stuck to her earlier decision and declined to allow MPs move a motion on the matter saying that they should take the issue before Parliament’s Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee. She said that she was basing her ruling on the decision that had been earlier taken on 29th November when parliament approved the designation of MPs to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.
“Stop filibustering with the work of this House, the decision is based on the 29th November decision taken in this House. If the MPs misbehaved, take the matter to the rules committee,” said Kadaga.