A story about the closing of 8th parliament
The 8th parliament has this afternoon adjourned indefinitely but on an emotional note with a number of the legislators calling for a change in attitude by government towards the opposition.
Other parliamentarians called for more sensitization on the new multiparty dispensation to allow new MPs understand more how the system works.
Speaker Edward Sekandi adjourned the house to allow MPs prepare for their swearing-in ceremonies starting next Monday.
But Sekandi said the adjournment was sine die meaning the MPs could be re-called anytime at a short notice.
Legally, the life of the 8th parliament ends on May 18th when a new one, the 9th parliament, gets sworn-in.
Moses Kabusu, the MP for Kyamuswa County in Kalangala, told his colleagues that he is going out of parliament without any money because his constituency literally turned him into an Automated Teller Machine. He said he was shocked to learn on coming to parliament that the seat has a lot of financial demands that the monthly pay cannot cater for.
But Kabusu, who will not return to the next parliament after losing to former minister, Tim Lwanga, said he has no regrets serving as an MP because the opportunity allowed him to start and finish his university degree in law. He said the education would now help him in his life.
Reagan Okumu said as opposition FDC members, they would find it hard to forgive the government officials who mistreated their party president, Dr. Kizza Besigye by arresting him in a shameful manner. He said that the embarrassment occasioned to Besigye is not just to him but also his over two million supporters in the country.
Okumu asked government to stop treating the opposition as enemies but look at them as alternatives to the growth of democracy in Uganda. He reminded government to remember that the NRM that is today in parliament won only one parliamentary seat in 1980 but later regrouped to become a leading party in the country.
Nathan Byanyima, Bukanga county MP, appealed to the 9th parliament to be tolerant of divergent views and work to build a positive name for the institution. He said that the bad image that a member gets is bad for the whole institution.
However, Disaster Minister, Prof Tarsis Kabwegyere, who came under criticism from Okumu who labeling him arrogant, said he would not apologize to anyone for always being honest and truthful. He said that he has always been misunderstood but added he was leaving parliament a happy man since he had done the best he could.
While the opposition MPs blamed government for mistreating them, works state minister, John Byabagambi, on behalf of government, asked for forgiveness saying that every human being is capable of making a mistake.
He said that the outgoing parliament and government was the first under a multiparty system and was bound to experience numerous challenges.
Byabagambi advised that the solution to such a challenge lies in keeping focus on the main destiny of the country as well as well as being tolerant of each other’s views.
Speaker Sekandi wished all the outgoing MPs success and said that for those remaining in the next parliament, more needs to be done to make them appreciate a multiparty system.
The 9th parliament will have 372 MPs, as opposed to 333 members in the outgoing parliament.