The Leader Of Opposition (LOP) in parliament Hon. Mathias Mpuuga Nsamba, has emphasized that being informed about crucial matters in the country by MPs, is key in fostering quality discussions on the floor of the legislative house.
Hon. Mpuuga made these remarks on Monday, during the launch of the Cluster Program Capacity Building for opposition MPs, that took place at Golden Tulip Hotel Nakasero.
Tailored towards equipping opposition legislators with sufficient knowledge about pertinent issues in the country, it was the very first session hosted by the Department of the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, Parliament of Uganda,
“I am very delighted this morning to officiate at this historic occasion when the Opposition in Parliament takes a step that would technically empower our team to dominate parliamentary business that is evidence based,” Mpuuga remarked.
“You cannot dominate the environment with noise only, you can only dominate it with knowledge………to spare some space for knowledge than noise,” added Hon. Mpuuga, as he thanked his opposition counterparts for finding the lauch very impressive, and buying their precious time for the orientation.
Efforts aimed at readying opposition legislators for quality parliamentary deliberations during today’s ccasion are in addition to the first session of parliament, and especially for first term legislators, which provides them with an opportunity to learn the basics of parliamentary business, through active participation in committees.
With committee experience, a new member acquires some minimum knowledge and experience, required to make submissions on the floor of the house with substancial effect, a view shared by LOP Mpuuga.
Hon. Mpuuga noted that a legislator must possess a broad intellectual spectrum and understanding on crucial aspects in the country, including technical aspects, so as to be able to skillfully articulate issues on the floor of parliament.
“Because an MP is expected to be an all-rounder with knowledge on all aspects from Atomic Energy to Soil Fertility and even human organ transplant, expert knowledge simplified for a legislator is a very important ingredient in preparations for quality submissions in both the committees and parliament,” Hon. Mpuuga told MPs.
Also addressing the legislators, Hon. John Baptist Nambeshe, the opposition Chief Whip noted that as one of the targeted outcomes of the training, the opposition side intends to change the whipping style, in which it will present a list of their members who will be able to speak for their side on particular issues at the floor of parliament, for every item presented on the order paper.
Accordingly, the new whipping style would imply that members chosen to speak for the opposition side would have to do more preparations, including technical political consultations, which is expected to lead to higher quality submissions, encompassing winning positions in the resolutions made by the house.
Most importantly, it is intended to avail opportunities to all opposition members to speak, as opposed to the current system where only those few known to the presiding officers are able to have more time on the microphone.
Also suffice to note, enhancing visibility in terms of the exemplary deliberations that opposition MPs present in parliamentary committees, which are eventually taken up in the main committee reports is another targeted outcome for these cluster trainings.
These training clusters are also seen as a crucial weapon, aimed at defusing a numerical disadvantage suffered by the opposition group, which can be turned around by quality submissions that have the effect of convincing the majority to toe their line of understanding.
It should ofcourse be remembered that one of the outcomes of the February 2022 retreat of the Opposition MPs in Entebbe was the creation of programme clusters, through which the MPs will be supported to enhance their performance in the committees and in the house.
These opposition legislators have been grouped into 20 programme clusters, under which they are to undergo a series of trainings.
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