By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho,
A total of 131 MPs have on Monday 17th Sworn in as members of the 11th Parliament representing different constituencies across the country, in the next five-year term 2021 t0 2026.
A total of 529 MPs-elect are expected to take their oath of office between Monday, 17 May 2021 and Thursday, 20 May 2021.
The ceremonies started with the Clerk to Parliament reading the proclamation followed closely by Hon. Jesca Ababiku (NRM, Adjumani) taking the oath as the first MP of the new parliament Two representatives of older persons in Parliament, a newly created position to add to the special interest groups, took the oath.
Hon. Catherine Akumu Mavejinja for Northern Uganda and Hon. Peninah Busingye Kabingani for Central Uganda were sworn in. Other Special Interest Groups in Parliament that have had MPs-elect taking oath include four Workers’ Representatives, two representing Persons with Disability (PWDs), and two representing the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF).
The swearing-in ceremony was presided over by the clerk to Parliament will last four days starting today Monday, May 17, until Thursday, May 20th, at the Parliamentary building in Kampala.
The House has 527 Members of Parliament (MPs) – that is roughly 100 more MPs than what the 10th Parliament had.
The swearing in will be followed by the first sitting, at which a Speaker and Deputy will be elected.
According to the statement issued by the clerk to Parliament Jane Kibirige, the swearing-in ceremony starts at 8:00am and ends at 6:30 pm each day.
The program indicates that the swearing will be done in shifts with the first shift starting at 8:00am and ending at 1:30pm before the second shift kicks off at 2:00pm, and ends at 6:30 in the evening.
Using the alphabetical order, the Adjumani district woman MP Jesca Ababiku will be the first MP, to take the oath. She will be followed by women MP-elect for Otuke district Suzan Abeja Jolly, Lillian Aber, the woman MP-elect for Kitgum district, Cuthbert Abigaba Mirembe, the Kibale county MP-elect and Agnes Abwoli Kunihira, the worker’s MP-elect.
The oath of allegiance and the oath of Member of Parliament are provided for in Article 81 (4) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
The Article states that, “Every person elected to Parliament shall take and subscribe the oath of allegiance and the oath of Member of Parliament specified in the Fourth Schedule to this Constitution; and shall not, except for purposes of taking the Oaths, sit or vote in Parliament before taking and subscribing to the oaths.” Section 2 of the Oaths Act, Cap. 19 of the Laws of Uganda mandates the Speaker of Parliament or Clerk to Parliament to tender the oath of allegiance and oath of a Member of Parliament to a person elected to Parliament.
The oaths will be administered to the MPs-elect by the Clerk to Parliament Jane L. Kibirige, through the four-day swearing-in period. This is the 11th Parliament of Uganda since the country attained independence in October 1962
However, the Nakawa East Member of Parliament Joel Ssenyonyo sworn in an alternate manner that he will be away on the time his turn will be on.
The Monday swearing-in ceremony ended at exactly 4pm, where some MPs including Chris Baryomunsi missed as he was attending CEC Meeting and Busingye Victoria Rusoke Woman MP kabarole also missed citing personal reasons,
Unlike the outgoing Parliament (10th Parliament) which used three days to swear in the outgoing MPs, the 11th parliament picked four days to conduct the weeklong ceremony, due to the increased number of MPs and the need to observe the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which among other things provide for social distancing.
To observe the COVID-19 SOPs, Parliament has issued a list of tough guidelines that will be followed during the exercise, to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
According to the clerk to Parliament, all elected MPS who will turn up for swearing-in are barred from carrying crowds to Parliament for their swearing-in.
A total of 529 newly elected MPs are set to be sworn in this week, compared to only 427 MPs that were sworn in May 2016 for the 10th Parliament.