The Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa has vowed to challenge the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga’s ruling to hold elections for the four back bench commissioners of Parliament.
Nankabirwa put the Speaker on notice that she was not in agreement with her ruling since the process of designating Commissioners had already commenced wondering whether the ruling would affect the current nominated Commissioners or be applied to the 11th Parliament.
During her ruling, Kadaga noted that for the last twelve years, there has been an oversight on the part of Parliament which has since been confirming Commissioners as nominated by government as well as opposition whips without holding an election as provided for by the Administration of Parliament Act, 2006, as amended.
In her submission, however, Nankabirwa noted that she was not satisfied with Kadaga’s ruling which comes in the middle of the game.
“I would like to know, your ruling requires amendment of our Rules of Procedure especially Rule 11 (5) because you said, we made it in error, we were already in the process of designating the next commissioners,” Nankabirwa said.
“With effect from when will the amendments prevail? The game has started and you want to amend the rules, is it to affect the 10th Parliament or the next Parliament? A precedent has already been made, two and half years have already elapsed and I have already written to the Speaker about the designation,” Nankabirwa said in her submission to the House.
Nankabirwa was however put to order by Jinja East MP, Paul Mwiru who referred her to Rule 86 which provides for a procedure on how to challenge the Speaker’s ruling.
In response, Nankabirwa said that, “I would like to move a notice that I will be moving a motion to challenge your ruling because I am not in agreement and the rules allow me to give notice challenging of the provision of the rulings”.
The Speaker later noted that the government chief whip had the right but reminded her that by proceeding with her motion, she would be taking on the Administration of Parliament Act which is the main law of this House.
On the same note, the opposition Chief Whip, Ibrahim Semujju Nganda raised a concern terming Kadaga’s ruling as acting retrospectively.
“As the party in opposition, we wrote to you nominating Francis Mwijukye as a Commissioner and as far as we are concerned, we had made only one nomination. You have made the ruling which has come after nomination. The procedural issue I am raising is to whether the ruling is going to act retrospectively,” Semujju said.
Semujju cited a similar debate that the House was faced with in the last Parliament when some legislators wanted to have the commissioners elected but the Speaker ruled against the move maintaining the designation of commissioners.
“This will appear like changing the rules in the middle of the game, because a similar ruling was given in this Parliament to which some of us protested,” Semujju said.
Kadaga however noted that the issue of when the elections shall be held will be communicated in the due course.