Nankabirwa Under Fire for Defending Absentee Ministers

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In short
The Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa on Tuesday came under fire after legislators accused her of continuing to cover up absentee ministers in plenary sittings.

The Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa on Tuesday came under fire after legislators accused her of continuing to cover up absentee ministers in plenary sittings.
 
This came after Burahya County MP Margaret Muhanga noted the poor state of her voters following a heavy down pour that destroyed their crops and houses.
 
Nankabirwa then stood up to explain the several cases of disasters that have hit different parts of the country.
 
However, Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo called Nankabirwa to order demanding to know why the line ministers Musa Ecweru and Hilary Onek were not in attendance to respond to issues raised by MPs.
 
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Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah also asked Nankabirwa to explain why ministers were not in parliament. 
 
Nankabirwa defended the two ministers saying that Onek was in Geneva and he had communicated to the Speaker while minister Ecweru was away on official duties.
 
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Oulanyah had no kind works for the Executive criticizing them for stalling parliament business. 
 
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Nankabirwa responded saying that the Executive respected Parliament and that the Chief Whip stands between cabinet and the House. She went on revealing how Government through the finance ministry had released Shillings three billion to handle disasters.
 
Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal also put Nankabirwa to order for trying to defend the ministers who skip plenary. 
 
She asked why ministers accepted positions yet they do not want to answer questions raised in parliament.
 
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Nankabirwa explained that she was not defending absentee ministers but was responding on their behalf.
 
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As this exchange continued, ministers Health minister Jane Aceng of Health and Michael Werikhe for Trade were seen walking into the House.
 
Dokolo South MP Felix Okot Ogong threatened to bring a motion to Parliament indicating Parliament's displeasure with how ministers are handling their business in Parliament.
 
Cabinet is made up of 81 ministers and only about 20 ministers were in attendance in the Tuesday afternoon plenary session. 
 
Some of the ministers in attendance included State minister for Veterans Bright Rwamirama, Defence minister Adolf Mwesige, State minister for tourism Godfrey Kiwanda, State minister for Health Sarah Opendi, and State minister for transport Aggrey Bagiire.
 
Others included minister for water Sam Cheptoris, State minister for Higher Education John Chrysostom Muyingo, State minister for primary education Rose Mary Sseninde, Ethics and Integrity minister Father Simon Lokodo, state minister for planning David Bahati among others.

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.