Parliament committee chairpersons who regularly miss plenary sessions will face demotion, according to Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa. This announcement was made on Thursday, October 12, 2023, during a session of the House.
Deputy Speaker Tayebwa’s decision came in response to a report he received from Prof. Elijah Mushemeza, a member of Parliament from Sheema South, Independent, who had been assigned by Speaker Anita Among two months ago to investigate this issue discreetly. This action was taken after previous measures, including the use of biometric attendance systems, failed to address the problem.
Deputy Speaker Tayebwa pointed out that the attendance of committee chairpersons had been alarmingly low on multiple occasions in recent days. He cited the following statistics:
|Number of Chairpersons in Attendance
Tayebwa expressed his concern, saying, “If this behavior continues, we will request the appointing authorities to withdraw these individuals because it will be challenging for us as presiding officers to work with chairpersons who do not attend plenary sessions. We need to know who will handle their Bills if they themselves do not attend the House.”
Parliament comprises fourteen standing committees, each serving a fixed term of two and a half years. These committees include the Public Accounts Committees (Central Government), Government Assurance and Implementation, and the Human Rights Committee, with a total of 30 members.
Additionally, there are fifteen sectoral committees with 30 members each, chosen at the beginning of each session. These sectoral committees cover various areas, including Education and Sports, chaired by John Ntamuhiira Twesigye (Bunyaruguru, NRM), Physical Infrastructure led by Dan Kimosho, and the Health Committee led by Charles Ayume (Koboko Municipality, NRM), among others.
In response to the Deputy Speaker’s decision, Masindi Woman MP Florence Asiimwe Akiiki (NRM) applauded the initiative and suggested that attendance be included as a criterion for selecting chairpersons and their deputies. She emphasized the importance of role models within leadership, both in committee attendance and plenary sessions.
Akiiki also noted that many reports prepared by committees were not being presented in Parliament, despite funds being allocated for their production. She proposed a review of these reports, as they often contain crucial policy-related issues.
Bugabula South MP Maurice Kibalya (NRM) called for direct engagement with committee leaders who have been absent, suggesting a more proactive approach to address the issue.