MPs want rules to remove Vice President, Prime Minister
Publish Date: Dec 08, 2011
By Joyce Namutebi
Members of Parliament want rules on removal of the Vice- President and Prime Minister from office.
The current Rules of Procedure of Parliament do not provide for removal of the two from office although the Constitution gives general grounds such as revocation of appointment, resignation or death.
This is among the many amendments the committee on rules, privileges and discipline is proposing to the current rules in a bid to make the House more efficient and effective.
The amendments will also make Parliament leadership, its committees and Members of the Parliament of East Africa and the Pan African Parliament more accountable to Parliament, according to the committee report yet to be debated by Parliament.
The report stated that the committee considered Rules 90, 91, 92, 93 and 94 that provide for removal of the President, Speaker and Deputy Speaker, ministers and commissioners.
It observed that there was no mention of the removal of the Vice-President and Prime Minister.
“The committee recommends that the procedure for the removal of the Vice-President and Prime Minister from office be provided for in the rules,” the report added.
The committee further recommended entrenchment in its rules a provision on contempt of Parliament.
“The committee noted that the provisions in the rules in regard to contempt of Parliament/ and or breach of privilege of Parliament are inadequate. It recommends that offences or omissions which constitute contempt or breach of privileges of Parliament be provided for in the rules.”
The MPs also want formation of a Speakers’ panel to preside over the House in the absence of the Speaker and deputy.
The recommendation for the Speakers’ panel followed proposals that the committee received during the course of its work.
According to the report, the committee carried out research and found out that similar panels exist in some Parliaments including the national parliaments of Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Philippines.
It said that in Kenya for instance, the Speaker at every start of every Parliament nominates a panel of not less than four members as assistant speakers and any of them, may upon request of the speaker or deputy, chair the House or committee of the whole House or the committee of supply.
The MPs considered another scenario where the existing Parliamentary Commission could resolve itself into a Speakers’ Panel, but recommended that the panel be nominated from back benchers, with approval of Parliament.
The committee recommended that the rules be amended to provide for the office of Deputy Leader of Opposition, deputy chief whip, deputy opposition whip and assistant whips.
The MPs also want the speaker to designate a sitting area for UPDF representatives and independent MPs.
The MPs further recommended that use of electronic gadgets be permitted in the House and that the rules be amended to admit the press in the press gallery with electronic/recording and transmitting devices.
They further recommended that proceedings of the appointments committee be open to the public to allow debate on the report by the committee by the whole House.