The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has ruled that the House shall henceforth hold elections of the four back bench Commissioners of Parliament.
The Speker’s ruling follows last week’s procedural matter raised by Busiro East MP, Medard Segona over the procedure of nominating of the back bench Commissioners.
This comes at a time when the term of the current Commissioners is due to expire and both government and opposition have since designated members to occupy the back bench.
Those that have been designated and are awaiting confirmation by the House include; opposition’s Francis Mwijukye from FDC, NRM’s Peter Ogwang, Robinah Nabbanja and Arinaitwe Rwakajara.
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 without holding an election.
“The Commission is established by the Constitution, under Article 87 (a) and its composition is prescribed under the Administration Parliament Act which states that the Commission shall be composed of the Speaker, the Leader of Government Business or his/her nominee, the Leader of the Opposition or his/her nominee, the Minister responsible for Finance and four Members of Parliament one of whom shall come from the opposition and none of whom shall be a Minister,” Kadaga said.
Kadaga added that the Act further stipulates that, “At least one of the back bench Commissioners shall be a woman and nomination of candidates to the Commission of the four members shall be made by government and the opposition side.”
Kadaga said that taking a study in the provisions of the Constitution, Administration of Parliament Act and the Rules of procedure, they provide for nomination of candidates for the purpose of elections.
“There must be an election by the House; the house shall be designated as the constituent college for purpose of that election from among the nominated candidates from the four back benchers.”
“This is so because members who are the direct beneficiaries of this choice are the voters and the representatives are the commissioners and any decision of the House is made by voting,” Kadaga further quoted the law.
The Speaker however noted that the provision of rule 11 (4) (5) of the Rules of Procedure provide for the designation respectively as opposed to the elections.
“This in my view was an oversight on our part in making the rules as it is in direct contradiction with the Administration of Parliament Act which was mandated under the constitution.”
She added that to avoid ambiguity, Parliament shall read the word designation to read nomination and the tenure of the back bench Commissioners is two and half years.
She as well asked the Rules and Privileges committee to align the rules with the Constitution and the Administration of Parliament Act.