A furious speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga prematurely adjourned plenary on Thursday till next week due to the absence of cabinet ministers.
Plenary started at around 3 pm with the communication of the speaker to the house which lasted for about 20 minutes. After the speaker’s communication, Oyam Woman member of parliament, Santa Alum asked if it was in order for the day’s business to proceed with only three state ministers.
She explained that the ministers were needed to respond to some of the issues that have been pending on the order paper for the last five months.
"The first two responses have been on the order paper for over five months now, and madam minister, you made mention of the character of members of parliament in this House. And madam speaker, this also includes the ministers, the characters of some of the ministers are unbecoming, madam speaker not even respecting your chair, madam speaker. If we let the ministers continue like this, how will parliament proceed with its business and yet we need the response and now it is after 3 pm and we only see three ministers?" said Alum.
Lwemiyaga West MP, Theodore Ssekikubo asked the speaker to suspend the house, saying there is no need to proceed since there won’t be a response from the government.
"We can’t sit here and we have rulings and decisions being made in vain otherwise everyone will behave the way he wants. It is only proper and important honourable members that the sanctity, the authority of this house is restored," said Ssekikubo.
This prompted Kadaga to suspend the house for 15 minutes to allow ministers to come in as only three were present. Those present included the Finance state minister in charge of planning David Bahati, Ethics state minister Fr. Simon Lokodo and the Housing state minister, Chris Baryomunsi.
"I’m going to suspend this house for 15 minutes and if they are not yet here I will actually adjourn. The ministers must come and respond to the concerns of Ugandans through their representatives," said Kadaga in an angry tone.
After the 15-minute suspension, Kadaga returned to the house and said the prime minister and government have abdicated their responsibilities since the had been given the notice to be available to answer members’ questions from the people.
"In the circumstances, I am adjourning House until next week!" she said.
On the order paper was over a dozen questions put to ministers of Works/Transport, Local Government, Foreign Affairs, Energy, Tourism, Wildlife, Lands, Agriculture, Finance, Security and the attorney general.
URN has since learnt that several ministers were engaged in the visit of South Sudan president, Salva Kiir and his archrival the first vice president, Riek Machar.
This is the first time that parliamentary business stalls due to the absence of ministers. On numerous occasions, the Government chief whip, Ruth Nankabirwa is forced to stand in on behalf of government to answer queries raised by legislators.