July 5, 2013

NRM MPs Welcome Move By Chief Whip To Punish Absentees

National Resistance Movement (NRM) Members of Parliament have welcomed the measures taken by the Government Chief Whip Justine Kasule Lumumba to curb absentees in plenary proceedings.

Justine Lumumba, the government chief whip
Justine Lumumba, the government chief whip

On Tuesday this week Lumumba threatened to put stringent measures in place to make sure that NRM members attend plenary citing a separate register for NRM members and punishments for those who absent themselves without informing her office formally.

Richard Todwong, Minister without Portfolio, says that while the chief whip is within her mandate to remind MPs of their duties, MPs are mature people and forcing them to sessions might worsen the situation.

William Wilson Nokrach, a member representing people with disabilities in Northern Uganda, believes the measure will encourage NRM members to attend plenary which is an important forum for considering important bills and quorum in this stage is necessary to pass bills.

He hopes that the measures suggested by the chief whip will not only help members attend parliamentary proceedings but also improve on the party discipline.

Mwebaza Sarah Wenene, a member of NRM and chairperson of the East African Committee, applauds the chief whip’s decision as a control measure. She believes it is not bad to keep people under check since most of the business is not completed by Parliament due to lack of quorum and business which could have been finished in one session is pushed which is rather time consuming.

She noted that it is a good strategy and could end up saving parliament time.

An empty parliament
An empty parliament

Asamo Hellen Grace, a member of NRM representing people with disabilities in the Eastern Region, reminds MPs that it is their responsibility to take charge and attend parliamentary sessions.

She notes how unfortunate some MPs cannot appear for sessions as well as committee proceedings and later tax payer’s money is spent on salaries and allowances.

Asamo also notes that some MPs sign in the registration book at the entrance of the Parliamentary chambers and disappear immediately after.
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he says the new strategy will check such habits.

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