The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among, yesterday steered the House for the first time since she was elected to the position on May 24.
Ms Among, also the Bukedea Woman MP , opened plenary at 10am, saying: “You are such wonderful MPs, and as l promised you [at] Kololo [Independence Grounds], we shall work together for the betterment of this country without segregation.”
She appeared collected, calm, and accommodative to views raised by both Opposition and government sides of the House.
The session, which was the 5th of the 11th Parliament, kicked off with the approval of an extra ministerial position; the State Minister for the Elderly, and later vetting, and approval of the Vice President, Ms Jessica Alupo, and the Prime Minister, Ms Robinah Nabbanja.
Unlike in the previous sessions, Parliament passed the proposal to raise ministerial positions from 80 to 81, and also approved Ms Nabbanja without debate.
This was after the Tororo County legislator, Mr Geoffrey Ekanya, demanded that vetting be expedited, and House be conducted like the country is in a ‘war-zone’ by suspending some of the procedural processes on vetting the Vice President and Prime Minister.
“These MPs are acting as if we are in a normal environment. Colleagues, Covid is real. Schools have been closed, children are sick. We should, therefore, conduct businesses as if it is a war-zone. We need a government in place so that we take action and take the country back to work,” Mr Ekanya said.
This was supported by Mr Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala County) .
“For us to sit here and engage in debate as if we are in normal times for which will not change material substance, no matter how long we spend here is not okay,” Mr Kivumbi said.
Ms Among erred when she led Parliament to approve Ms Nabbanja as ‘Minister’ instead of Prime Minister.
“I now put to the question that Honourable Robinah Nabbanja, the district representative of Kakumiro, be approved as a Minister and a leader of government business,” Ms Among said before she was intercepted by Government Chief Whip Thomas Tayebwa.
Mr Tayebwa dashed to the Deputy Speaker and whispered to her to supposedly correct her.
Ms Among then corrected the title before the lawmakers voted in approval.
Ms Moriku Joyce Kaducu (Moyo Woman) lauded Ms Among for chairing the session well.
Her Bududa counterpart, Ms Agnes Nandutu, said: “She did quite well given that this was her first time to chair the House. She did her homework. She knew that the task she was going to conduct was to spearhead the approval of the Prime Minister and Vice President and she delivered. Within one year, she will be excellent and I am sure that she will also learn a lot from the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Jacob Oulanyah.”
Mr Dominic Gidudu Mafabi, the MP for older persons, eastern region, said: “She’s quite assertive, tactical, and calm. She came with her mind that the House needed to move in a certain direction and delivered.”