The appointment of the coveted backbench Commissioners of Parliament by the NRM and FDC leaders has apparently been illegal for the last 12 years.
The Commission composed of the Speaker, the Leader of Government Business or a nominee, the Leader of the Opposition, the Minister responsible for finance and four backbench Members of Parliament, is the administrative and highest decision making organ of Parliament.
The Administration of Parliament Act 2, as amended in 2006, provides for the establishment of the Commission.
“The Commission shall be composed of the Speaker, the Leader of Government Business or his or her nominee, the Leader of the Opposition or his or 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.”
Since the amendment, the NRM Central Executive Committee has been appointing the 3 Commissioners for the majority ruling party and the remaining one slot for opposition has always been appointed from Najjanakumbi.
The appointment has however, been in contravention of the same Administration of Parliament Act 2(b) which stipulates for election of commissioners at Parliament and by party leaders.
Three senior officials from Parliament’s Department of Legal Affairs uniformly told ChimpReports that the law has been misinterpreted since 2006.
“The Administration of Parliament 2 (b) has been misunderstood and inaccurately applied. Commissioners are supposed to be elected,” said a senior Legal Affairs official, whose names we were asked to withhold.
The tenure of the current Commissioners appointed in June 2016 is expiring this month and newly the newly appointed Commissioners are supposed to be formally named before the house breaks for Christmas.
The NRM CEC chaired by President Yoweri Museveni on November 30th 2018 reappointed the 3 Commissioners of Parliament: Peter Ogwang of Usuk, Kakumiro woman MP, Robinah Nabanja and Workers representative Arinaitwe Rwakajara.
FDC President Patrick Amuriat appointed Buhweju MP Francis Mwijukye to replace Dokolo woman MP, Cecilia Ogwal.
According to sources, some MPs are not comfortable with the reappointment of the 3 NRM Commissioners and now they want to cause fresh interpretation of the law. The group wants the Commissioners to be elected.
According to sources, a big person at Parliament, has “fallen out” with the Commissioners and wants them to leave the Commission.
The 3 NRM Commissioners held a closed door meeting with the Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa on Monday evening, in a possible move to save their positions.
Constitutional Lawyer, Medard Ssegona coincided with the Parliament Legal Affairs officials’ position that the appointment of Commissioners has been illegal.
“The law has been misconstrued and the practice (of appointing Commissioners) is illegal,” Said Segona.
Segona who also represents Busiro East in Parliament said the practice should change.