Buhweju County MP, Hon Francis Mwijukye, has been elected unopposed as commissioner representing the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) in the Parliamentary Commission. Mwijukye replaces Hon. Cecilia Ogwal (UPC, Dokolo district).
On the same note, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) retains three of her backbench commissioners, Peter Ogwang (Usuk County), Nabbanja Robinah (Kakumiro district) and Hon. Rwakajara Arinaitwe (Workers) after being elected unopposed.
According to the Parliament Rules of Procedure that were amended on 23 May 2019, backbench commissioners are nominated by the Government and Opposition Chief Whips for election by the whole House.
The Government Chief Whip, Hon Ruth Nankabirwa, nominated the NRM commissioners while the Opposition Chief Whip, Hon Tonny Muhindo Harold, nominated the opposition commissioner during plenary sitting on Friday, 24 May 2019.
“These are the nominated members from the NRM Central Executive Committee, they are only three,” said Ruth Nankabirwa.
Hon. Odonga Otto (FDC, Aruu County) however, described the process as fraudulent, saying that he did not get the chance of being nominated. He accused Parliament of going against the amended rules of procedure.
“The mischief we were curing yesterday when we were passing the rules is the very thing that is taking place now.
We wanted to avoid the situation where some people seated somewhere nominate a specific person and avoids Parliament from exercising its rights of election,” said Odonga Otto.
The Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, however, guided that according to the general rule that govern elections, if at the closure of election, the nominated candidate is one, it is still an election and one will be declared a winner unopposed.
He stated that in the case of the elections of the Parliamentary Commissioners, the rules of procedure were followed.
“There are no more nominations from the government and the opposition and in the absence of this, I declare those members elected unopposed,” said Oulanyah.
The term of office of the four backbench commissioners in the Parliamentary Commission is two and a half years.
The Commission, which is the top decision-making organ of Parliament, comprises Speaker of Parliament, Deputy Speaker, Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Leader of Government Business, Leader of the Opposition and four backbench commissioners.
According to the Uganda Constitution Article 87A establishes the Parliamentary Commission. Section 2 (2) of the Administration of parliament Act provides for the composition of the Commission to include: Speaker,the Deputy Speaker, Leader of Government Business,Leader of the oppositionn, the Minister responsible for Finance and four Commissioners (Backbench Members of Parliament).
The Clerk to Parliament is Secretary to the Commission.
The Commissioners of the 10th Parliament include:
- The Speaker – Rt Hon. Rebecca A. Kadaga
- The Deputy Speaker – Rt Hon. Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah
- The Leader of Government Business – Rt Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda
- The Leader of the Opposition – Hon. Ocan Betty Aol
- The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development – Hon. Matia Kasaija
- Four Backbench Members:
- Hon. Peter Ogwang
- Hon. Mwijukye Francis
- Hon. Arinaitwe Rwakajara
- Hon. Robinah Nabbanja
And then following are the cardinal functions of the Parliamentary Commission
1. To appoint, promote and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding public office in Parliament;
2. To review the terms and conditions of service, standing orders, training and qualifications of persons holding office in Parliament;
3. To provide a Parliamentary reporting service;
4. To provide such other staff and facilities as are required to ensure efficient functioning of the Parliament;
5. To cause to be prepared in each financial year, estimates of revenue and expenditure for the next financial year; and
6. To make recommendations to Parliament, or with the approval of Parliament, determine the allowances payable and privileges available to the Speaker and Members of Parliament.