Government, Opposition Fight In Parliament

There was drama at Parliament today when, in an unprecedented event, government and a Member of Parliament tabled two similar bills before the House for consideration.

Trouble started when the Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development, Mary Karoro Okurut presented the Children Amendment Bill 2015, which seeks to align the provisions of the Children’s Act with exisiting laws such as stringent regulations on inter-country adoption and all forms of exploitation.

However minutes later, Shadow Minister for Youth and Children, Bernard Atiku, who was given leave of absence from Parliament in November last year  to bring the amendments, also tabled a parallel bill, prompting legislators to question the procedure.

It emerged that both parties had been issued a certificates of financial implication, which is a pre-requisite for the tabling of any bill moved by a private member and an assurance that government will implement it.

While some legislators questioned the prodcedure under which both bills will be handled, Kadaga gave assurance that both bills will be scrutinised by the committee on Gender, which will then decide how to harmonise them.

However, Atiku says this development should be a lesson to government not to sit on its laurels, citing that government had abandoned the amendments to the Children’s Act on its shelves for over 10 years.

Okurut on the other hand says she is ready to work with the MP to harmonise the bill.