MPs Attack Cabinet for Dodging Parliament Question Time

2111 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Parliamentary question time is highly cherished under the Commonwealth Parliamentary system. Ugandan MPs say its value is undermined because cabinet ministers consistently fail to provide answers to questions raised.

Members of Parliament are unhappy that the cabinet has consistently failed to answer questions regarding matters of concern to the county.
Parliament’s rules of procedure require cabinet ministers to provide answers to pertinent questions raised in the House within two weeks of their asking. However members of the 8th Parliament say questions asked four years ago haven’t been attended to.
One of the matters of concern is in regard to the resettlement of more than 2,000 Ugandans who were expelled from Tanzania five years ago. Tarsis Kabweyere, the Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees was supposed to present government’s plan for them, but he has never done so.
On Tuesday, the case of the Ugandans expelled from Tanzania was brought up again.  Once more, Kabwegyere had no answer, arguing that he was inadequately prepared to make a statement.
Alex Byarugaba Bakunda the Isingiro County South MP, who raised the question, says he was dismayed that five years later, cabinet has no plan.

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Bakunda says the expelled Ugandans are living in squalid shelters in Ibanda, surviving on relief handouts because they have no land on which to cultivate.
Alice Alaso, the Soroti Woman MP, also had a bone to pick with cabinet. She demanded answers on the state of the rural electrification program and on the condition of remand homes around Uganda.
Both the ministries of energy and gender to whom the questions were directed had no response.
Alaso says question time is one of the most valuable aspects of Commonwealth parliaments. She says it is unfortunate that this has been lost on Uganda.
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Budadiri West MP Nandala Mafabi says the Speaker of Parliament, Edward Sekandi, should answer for the failure of cabinet to honor parliament’s questions.
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Some cabinet ministers in parliament on Tuesday blamed miscommunication between parliament and the executive for failure to answer the questions. They said the needed to be reminded about the issues raised.
The Clerk to Parliament is responsible to keep a record book of oral questions by parliament.