Public holds mock plenary, tips on climate change

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The public exercised functions of Members of Parliament on Friday, including holding plenary during a mock session held in conclusion of the Parliamentary week.
At a mock session, the public elected ‘Speaker’, ‘Deputy Speaker,’ ‘Leader of Opposition’ and ‘Leader of government business,’ while official Members of Parliament were designated strangers.
The inversion, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga explained, was intended to bridge the gap between Parliament and the public in line with the Inter-Parliamentary Union resolution passed at Munyonyo in 2012.
“The IPU agreed in 2012 that we are distant from the people so we agreed to bridge the gap,” Ms Kadaga explained shortly before what was termed as the “Public Parliament” could resume its ‘first sitting.’

She also added that the series of activities held during the Parliamentary week attracted over 2,000 visitors from the general public.

Members of the public line up to enter

Members of the public line up to enter parliament chamber for the plenary session of the “people’s parliament” .PHOTO BY ERIC DOMINIC BUKENYA

‘Elections’
Members of the public wore red, blue, yellow and green ribbons reflecting the various political parties in Parliament while independents wore none. They later constituted themselves into sworn in MPs and convened at the Parliamentary south wing to and elected Jeff Wadulo as Speaker after polling 179 votes.
Labor unionist Usher Wilson Owere was designated Deputy Speaker after emerging second with 162 votes. ‘Chief Justice’ Wabwire John presided over the swearing in Mr Wadulo as ‘Speaker,’who in turnswore his deputy Mr Owere in office as required by Article 82 of the Ugandan constitution.

They also came out with names of Leader of Government business and Leader of Opposition, after a stalemate that was spiraling out of control in the ‘NRM’ and ‘Opposition’ ‘caucuses.’
Climate change
During its ‘first session,’ the ‘Public Parliament’ urged government to adopt drastic measures in tackling climate change and greenhouse emissions to salvage the environment.
“Government should reverse land titles issued on land designated as wetland, demolish illegal settlements on wetlands and enforce planting of trees on all major highways,” partly read a ‘motion’ presented by ‘Prime Minister and Leader of Government business’ Ms Elizabeth Esther Wanyana.

The elected speaker of the people’s parliament,

The elected speaker of the people’s parliament, Jeff Wadulu. PHOTO BY ERIC DOMINIC BUKENYA

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda was represented by 1st Deputy Prime Minister Gen Ali Mozes, who urged the ‘Public Parliament’ to use the occasion to unite as a country, saying “you must be united whatever disagreement you may have.”
‘Speaker’ Jeff Wedulo urged ‘Members of Parliament,’ majority of whom were youth, to draw inspiration from the occasion in preparation for future national leadership.
“As aspiring leaders, you should use this occasion to be able to understand what is going on in preparation for future leadership,” Mr Wadulo advised.
He also proposed to have the ‘Public Parliament’ sit at least four times a year so that “deliberations can be taken to government for consideration and implementation.”
The opening session was also graced by Leader of Opposition Winnie Kiiza.

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