First Lady Hon Janet Museveni forced to call off meeting with Members of parliament.

First Lady Hon Janet Museveni forced to call off meeting with Members of parliament.

The Ministry of Education has called off a meeting with MPs over the reopening of schools in January 2021.

This was after both parties failed to agree on the venue.

“The Meeting between Ministry of Education and Sports and Members of Parliament that was scheduled for Wednesday 24th November, 2021 has been postponed,” said the Education Ministry on Tuesday night.

“A new date shall be communicated.”

The Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah had earlier appealed to Members of Parliament to attend a meeting with the Education Minister and First Lady Janet Museveni, saying it was an opportunity to discuss school reopening.

Oulanyah made the remarks during his communication during the plenary sitting on 23 November 2021.

Although the MPs said they were against being subjected to the COVID-19 tests frequently, they also questioned the arrangement the Education Minister would use to host them.

Oulanyah guided that the sitting would be a semi-parliamentary one steered by him.

“It will be a semi-parliamentary sitting. Semi in the sense that I will be presiding without a Whip; it is a mix breed kind of thing. I will be in the Chair, but it will not be a formal parliamentary sitting because they have invited other people like Civil Society Organizations (CSO)’s and others to also come and be part of this so that the same message is passed at once,” Oulanyah said.

He said Ugandans have prayed for the opening of schools and this was an opportunity for the members to participate in the process of school reopening looking at the challenges Ugandan students have faced during the lockdown.

Oulanyah said that following concerns of the request by the First Lady to host members, there was use of very strong language which was unacceptable.

“It has been a very difficult time for this category of people, and for you members of Parliament these questions have been asked. Many of you every single day that Parliament sits, there is a request to raise something about schools reopening. They have prayed about it even in churches and Mosques, the opportunity we have is to attend this meeting,” Oulanyah said.

The LOP, Hon Mpuuga(L) with other members of the Shadow cabinet listen to Oulanyah as he made his appeal to them to attend the meeting

The Leader of Opposition, Hon Mathias Mpuuga said that the Speaker’s Communication guided that, “the Speaker will be presiding over the sitting, but what sticks is that there will be a sitting of Parliament which will therefore, put into perspective the consequence of the debate that will ensue.”

“What is the nature, form, input, and shape of the debate by members? When members debate on Ministers’ statements, they will cause debate and effect change on the position of the Minister. What is the inhibition of the Minister of Education coming and addressing Parliament?” he questioned.

Oulanyah responding to Mpuuga said that it would not be the first time that MPs have continued with discussions of things that have happened in the House outside of Parliament.

He cited when President Museveni addressed Parliament on security and a meeting was convened at the Prime Minister’s conference facility and a debate was held.

Nganda speaks out

Hon Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda (FDC, Kiira Municipality) said that for the sake of the institution of Parliament, the members should not be persuaded to go for the meeting.

He questioned under which rule the meeting would be convened aside from Rule 52 which requires Ministers to make statements in the House.

“We have just processed a supplementary and the Minister of Finance did not call Parliament anywhere. All the Ministers appeared before the budget committee,” he said.

Ssemujju also wondered over what would happen if a new window of semi-parliament sitting is opened.

Kalungu West MP, Hon Joseph Ssewungu said that Parliament was setting a dangerous precedent where MPs are being summoned by Ministers.

“The preparation for the meeting is above a Shs1 billion. That money could be used to prepare the opening of schools instead,” Ssewungu said.

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