Despite the ban on all public meetings, political and other gatherings, Parliament has announced it will continue with its business, although with a number of measures to avoid spread of Coronavirus.
This was announced by the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga who noted that Parliament will continue carrying out its constitutional obligations while observing several restrictions.
“Corona Virus is a disease of congestion and we have highlighted a number of measures which will be implemented within 32 days,” Kadaga said.
The measures announced include limiting visits to Parliament for the next 32 days, closing certain facilities like the Gym, and restricting number of witnesses appearing before Parliament committees to four members.
Kadaga also said Parliament will operate electronically, limit sittings for one sector. The Clerk was instructed to transmit the policy statements to members electronically so that comments are sent to the committee chairperson and meet when necessary.
There will be provision of sanitizers at all access points and different offices as well as in the lifts and Suspension of all Interns, MPs personal assistants, staff of Parliamentary Foras effective Friday.
Plenary sittings have been transfered from the chambers to Conference hall to allow space between members while in session.
The canteen at Parliament is henceforth restricted to only MPs and Parliament staff
Fundraising by MPs have been stopped and there will be no more personal visitors to MPs and staff.
Deliveries of mails and receiving will be done at the main gate by an assigned officer. Additional hand washing materials have been put in place
Parliament will also scale down on its staffers.
However, some of the members noted that these measures are too many and may not be observed by legislators demanding that the House be suspended.
The Speaker however highlighted that suspension of the House would affect the budget process which must be done within a constitutional time frame.
“If we do this, we think within two weeks, we shall be done with budget work, this is on understanding that the budget will be laid without fail next week,” Kadaga said.
“We are in the third meeting of the session and it’s a budget session, therefore we are still obliged to carry out our responsibilities to ensure that the budget process is complete, however we shall work at different measures on how we are going to proceed,” Kadaga said.
On the other hand, Parliament has appointed members to join the National task force that has been put in place to monitor and update the nation on Corona Virus.
“The government has put in place a National Task force and from Parliament we have appointed the following people to join the team because they will be meeting every day to evaluate the situation and advise all of us”.
These members include; Arinaitwe Rwakajara, Francis Mwijukye, Bernard Atiku, Ester Anyakunyu, the Seargent at Arms, Kagoye and the Parliament Doctor.