NRM MPs Fill House to Pass Oil Bill

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In short
NRM members have for the first time since the beginning of the debate, filled the house to vote on the petroleum exploration, development and production bill 2012.

While FDC party legislators were at Namboole voting for their new leader on Thursday, their colleagues in parliament were rushing to pass the controversial oil bill.

NRM members have for the first time since the beginning of the debate on the bill, filled the house to vote on the Petroleum Exploration, Development and Production bill 2012.

Kawempe South MP Latif Ssebagala told Speaker Rebecca Kadaga that he did not think it was in order for the house to debate the crucial matter when their colleagues who have been contributing to it are away.

Other members including Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Sseggona said it is not proper to debate such a crucial matter without the shadow Attorney General and the Leader of Opposition.
He reasoned that the same way the house has always suspended business due to the absence of the Attorney General or when NRM is in caucus, the House should postpone the issue until these important members of opposition are available.

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Leader of Opposition Nandala Mafabi was among the candidates for the top FDC job. He and Geoffrey Ekanya, the Tororo County Member of Parliament and shadow Finance Minister, lost to Major General Mugisha Muntu, who now replaces Dr Kizza Besigye.

Kigulu South MP Milton Muwuma said that since other opposition parties are in the house, there is no need of postponing business arguing that there is no provision in the rules that says that all parties must be present.

He added that parliament went ahead to elect the representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly in the absence of FDC.

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Kadaga also said that she will not put business on halt because she did not receive any official communication regarding the absence of FDC MPs from the house. She added that she has been warning organisers of party business not to use parliamentary time for their private business.

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Parliament is considering the re-committal of clause nine of the petroleum exploration, development and production bill which spells out the powers of the minister. After voting to have the minister's powers reduced, Energy Minister moved a motion this week wanting to have her powers back.