Among: No travel for boycotting MPs, committee positions

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Speaker Anitah Among has issued further instructions to the Clerk of Parliament to prevent MPs who boycott plenary sittings from participating in committees and traveling abroad.

In response to MPs who have been criticizing her on social media for her decision to expel MPs who choose not to attend plenary sittings, she has emphasized that she remains unaffected by their attacks.

She clarified that the impasse on human rights violations was caused by the executive, not Parliament.

"To those who take to social media, television, and radio to attack me for simply carrying out my duties and urging you to be present in the House, I advise you not to waste your energy. I am now immune to your attacks. My sole desire is for people to be in the House and be productive, fulfilling the purpose for which they were elected," she declared.

She reminded the legislators of their responsibilities and conveyed that attacking her would not resolve any issues.

"Your duty is to serve the nation. If you cannot fulfill your duty by being present in the House, then the Rules will be enforced. When we discipline an individual, it is not an action against the party; it is a personal liability," Among stated.

The Speaker also requested that MPs who have chosen to boycott plenary sittings individually write to her office since they were not elected as a group. She will then determine whether to grant approval for their absence from Parliament.

"While we are aware that some MPs are absent from the House, I have yet to receive individual letters requesting permission for their absence. It is essential to show courtesy. We hold individuals personally responsible, as we were elected as individuals and not as a team. Therefore, I am still awaiting correspondence from absent members," Among explained.

She questioned why these MPs should be allowed to represent Uganda at the East African games in Rwanda in December when they are failing to represent their constituents in Parliament.

"Some individuals have deliberately chosen to excuse themselves from the House, yet they expect to represent Parliament in Kigali. Therefore, I am instructing the Chairman of the Sports Club in Parliament to remove those absent from the House from the list. Whether they are goalkeepers or in any other position, they should be excluded from the list. If you cannot be present in the House, you should prioritize representing your House before representing us at the EAC games," Among added.

Among recently issued a warning to opposition MPs who consistently boycott plenary sittings over unresolved concerns regarding human rights violations.

She made it clear that if MPs miss 15 consecutive sittings without seeking permission from her office, they may face expulsion.

"I will enforce the rule regarding 15 sittings, and I urge you, MPs, to attend the sessions. Do not be deceived into thinking you can simply walk out. I will be keeping track of the 15 sittings," Among asserted.

Article (83) of the Constitution outlines the circumstances under which a Member of Parliament may lose their seat, including being absent from 15 sittings without permission from the Speaker.

Among also criticized the opposition for resorting to street protests instead of engaging in dialogue within Parliament.

She expressed her belief that these actions contradict the atmosphere of cooperation and unity being fostered in the 11th Parliament.

The opposition has maintained its boycott of Parliament since November 6, using their absence as a means to pressure the government into addressing the issues related to abductions and the 18 missing individuals.

After weeks of political tension marked by the opposition's boycott of parliamentary sessions, the government recently agreed to initiate new investigations into the disappearance of the 18 individuals.

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