Absentee ministers anger Oulanyah

Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah on Tuesday directed Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa to stop holding the floor for cabinet ministers during plenary sessions.

There were hardly five ministers in Tuesday’s plenary sitting of Parliament which meant that several issues raised by MPs could not get a satisfying response from the executive.

Nankabirwa had taken on the duty of responding to every query that MPs were raising until the Chief Opposition Whip also Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda sought Oulanyah’s guidance on Nankabirwa’s being the one to respond to all issues specific to sector ministers.

Oulanyah took exception of the ministers’ absence that he said was frustrating Parliament’s business which he said is unacceptable.

“This House needs ministers to transact its business; we know the sectors that always show up in these matters of national importance. Is it difficult to learn the trend and deploy?” Oulanyah wondered.

Jacob Oulanyah presiding over plenary.

He said that if the ministers continue skipping the House business, Parliament will give prominence to Private Members’ business instead.

At the commencement of every plenary sitting, MPs raise urgent matters termed as matters of national importance which require response from ministers.

In the recent past, it has become a trend for minister to keep away from the House leaving Nankabirwa having to respond to all issues raised to the annoyance of MPs.

Recently, Oulanyah promised to name and shame Ministers who are in the habit of absconding from plenary work, with Nankabirwa urging the Speaker to publish the list because that way, it will ease her work as Government Chief Whip.