Opposition parties in the House have rejected the Administration of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which will among others require the election of their leader in Parliament. The Private Member’s Bill was moved by Hon. Andrew Aja Baryayanga (Ind., Kabale Municipality), and provides for the manner of choosing the back bench Members of the Commission, the Leader of the Opposition, the Chief Opposition Whip and Party Whips.
In moving the Bill, Baryayanga said that the manner in which the LOP in Parliament is designated and removed is not transparent, making it difficult for the Opposition members to hold the person holding the office accountable.
Addressing a press conference at Parliament on Wednesday, 06 February 2019, opposition party leaders rejected the provisions of the proposed law and said their leaders should continue to be elected or appointed by the parties. “When we go to the polls one government wins and forms the cabinet and the other forms the opposition or government in waiting.
If the Leader of Government business is not elected by the House why should the LOP be elected by the House?” said Mukasa Mbidde, Vice President of the Democratic Party. The press conference was organized by the LOP, Hon. Betty Aol Ocan, and was also addressed by Kibirige Mayanja (Forum Forum), Michael Osinde Ochan (Uganda People’s Congress); Hon. Kevina Taaka (Forum for Democratic Change).
They argued that since they are considered as the alternative government, their administrative issues should not be resolved by the whole House, as proposed in the Bill. The Bill also seeks to establish the office of Deputy Leader of Opposition and Deputy Chief Opposition Whip; to provide for the tenure of party Whips and to establish the office of dean of independent Members of Parliament.
However, the Administration of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is supported by the former Shadow Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Medard Ssegona, (DP, Busiro East) as one of its seconders. The Bill was referred to the Committee of Legal and parliamentary Affairs for consideration.