Parliament again defers voting on nodding disease

Voting on the motion to declare areas affected by the nodding disease syndrome in Acholi sub-region a humanitarian emergency area was yesterday deferred for the second time after government called for dialogue with the affected stakeholders.

The same motion was last week deferred when Parliament failed to realise quorum after scores of NRM MPs walked out of Parliament before voting.

Having debated for about two hours and failing to reach a compromise on the matter, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi moved that an impromptu meeting be called between the movers of the motion and him to come to a consensus, a position Parliament adopted yesterday.

Legislators Alice Alaso, (Serere Woman), Chris Baryomunsi, (Kinkizi East), Beatrice Anywar (Kitgum Woman) and Gerald Karuhanga (Youth, Western) would meet with the prime minister after which a final position would be communicated to the House this Thursday (tomorrow).

Mr Mbabazi had earlier resisted calls by some MPs, especially from the opposition who wanted Parliament to vote on the matter by show of hands.

He argued that it was unconstitutional for Parliament to pass a motion that has financial implications without the Executive’s input. But realising that government might lose to the opposition, he called for dialogue.

Differing suggestions
Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu said the matter did not have any financial implications but only required government to look for more money other than the Shs15 billion they said was already earmarked for the affected districts.

But Mr Mbabazi said: “I suggest that we stand over the matter and get together with the movers of the motion, discuss it and agree on a final position to be communicated to you.”

The deputy speaker, Mr Jacob Oulanyah, who presided over yesterday’s session and also hails from the affected sub- region, gave the parties until Thursday to meet.

“The debate shows that Parliament is serious about the debate on nodding disease so that we resolve it without acrimony,” Mr Oulanyah said.

Ms Alaso last week moved the motion to declare some areas disaster areas and at least 125 MPs are needed to realise the quorum.

The prayers of the motion were that government declares the area disaster-striken, release and make public the Centers for Disease Control report, and that the Social Services Committee of Parliament takes charge and makes quarterly reports to the House among others.

Some NRM MPs, following an earlier NRM caucus meeting, switched positions when they demanded to understand the implications of declaring the affected areas humanitarian emergency areas.

By Mercy Nalugo   (email the author)

Posted  Wednesday, May 16  2012 at  00:00


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