LOP Against Proposed Amendments to the Administration of parliament bill
Leader of Opposition (LOP) Betty Aol Ochan together with the Opposition Chief Whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda have asked the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to reject the proposed Administration of Parliament Amendment Bill, 2019.
The Bill sponsored by Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Sseggona, seeks to amend the Administration of Parliament Act to allow for the election of Leader of Opposition following the nomination of at least three contenders by the leading opposition party. Currently, LOP is appointed by the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party- the majority Opposition party in parliament.
The proposed legislation also seeks to amend the method of choosing the party whips, choosing the deputy Leader of Opposition and whips. It also seeks to increase the membership of the Parliamentary Commission to cater for independent MPs.
Appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee today, LOP Ochan said that the opposition was not consulted by the proprietors of the Bill even though the Medard Sseggona is part of the opposition cabinet in parliament. Sseggona is the Shadow Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
Ocan noted that Bill creates double standards saying that it is only targeting electing leaders in opposition and leaving the NRM free to appoint its leaders including the Government Chief Whip.
Opposition Chief Whip Ssemujju said that the proposed Bill is meant to curtail powers of the opposition in parliament and violates the spirit of multiparty political system and the Constitution.
He also said that the Bill is contrary to the Common Wealth practice and that it was contradictory since it does not propose the election of Government Chief Whip but instead concentrates on election of Leder of Opposition and other opposition leaders in parliament.
Ssemujju said that the majority Opposition party should be left with the function of choosing its leaders in parliament and its organs prescribe the procedure since a party is an institution and not an individual.
The Kira Municipality MP also rejected the proposal of having independents involved saying that these came to parliament as such and must remain that way.
He also suggested that the proposed amendment to have an election of commissioners will detach legislators from their political parties.