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Parliament adopts a hybrid approach to Prime Minister’s Time

By Melanie Aanyu,

Members of Parliament have adopted an amendment to the rules governing Parliament procedures, which will see the legislature adopt a hybrid system during the Prime Minister’s Time.

The practice in Commonwealth parliaments is that time is allotted to the Prime Minister to directly answer oral questions from backbench MPs.

However, Parliament of Uganda has moved to adopt written questions submitted beforehand to the Prime Minister for oral answer. This was during consideration of an amendment of the Rules of Procedure.

The Deputy Attorney-General, Jackson Kafuuzi, argued against the hybrid idea, saying that the Prime Minister should respond only to written questions. He said that they are, “less time consuming and better structured”.

On the other hand, the MPs supported the proposal from the Rules, Privileges and Discipline committee to have the hybrid system, arguing that it would be more engaging and provide a platform for matters that arise out of urgency.

Wilfred Niwagaba, Ndorwa East legislator said the questions to the Prime Minister should be both oral and written because restricting them to only written makes the Prime Minister’s Time really redundant without engagement.

The Chairperson of the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline, Abdu Katuntu, submitted a proposal on the time management of the questions, saying that out of the 60 minutes, 20 should go to oral questions and 40 to written. He justified that this would allow the Prime Minister time to listen to the oral questions and answer both oral and written questions.