The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, has directed Members of Parliament to stop making political statements on the floor of Parliament under the guise of a point of procedure or order.
This follows a standoff over an urgent matter of kidnapping raised by the Mityana municipality legislator Francis Zaake. Zaake has since been sent to the House’s Committee on Rules, Privileges, and Discipline for disciplinary action over his transgression.
Tayebwa issued new guidelines on conduct of Parliamentary business, on points of procedure, and order during debate.
In his communication from the chair during the 14th sitting of the 2nd meeting of the 2nd session of the 11th Parliament on Wednesday, Tayebwa said the new rules would spur constructive debate in the House.
"I have observed the continuous abuse of the rules of procedure relating to points of procedure and order by Members during debate," he said, reminding them to adhere to the Parliament Rules of Procedure when debating, raising matters of national importance or other matters.
The presiding officer under Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament is accorded powers to issue additional directives to guide debate and the manner under which debate may be interrupted.
Tayebwa said a member rising on a point of procedure must ensure that the point of procedure being raised pertains to the subject matter under discussion by the member holding the floor, except for matters related to quorum.
For example, points of procedure should relate to motions not properly seconded, authenticity of reports being presented to the House, among other matters relating to procedural flaws of the Rules of Procedure.
Hence, the Deputy Speaker said the point of procedure must be based on identified procedural flaws within the Rules of procedure “and the rule of procedure being breached must clearly be stated”
Tayebwa guided that a point of order must only be used to draw the attention of the Presiding Officer to words used or conduct of a member, at any time immediately after the words are used or conduct that breaches the Rules of Procedure".
"Points of order can be raised where, for instance, a member does not conform to the rules of debate, approved attire, uses un-parliamentary language or does an act or utters any words that breach the Rules of Procedure."
Tayebwa reminded MPs against making political statements, raising a matter of national importance or any other matter under the guise of a point of procedure.
"This amounts to an abuse of the Rules of Procedure," he said imploring MPs to follow the new guidance when seeking to interrupt debate on points of procedure or order.