By Onyango Jackson
The Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has threatened to invoke provisions of the constitution that could potentially have the protesting members of the opposition lose their seats.
Among, who returned to Parliament today after a brief maternity leave says she will take the decision when the MPs miss the dictated 15 consecutive sittings.
Her remarks come as the opposition maintain their boycott of House sittings.
Parliament resumed plenary sittings this afternoon after a two-week break. Today’s sitting was however largely without the members of the opposition except for the Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal, a Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party member and the MP for Lira East Division James Akena, who said the issue of the opposition boycott should be resolved quickly.
Speaker Among in her communication had instead warned that she would invoke Article 83 of the constitution which stipulates that an MP may lose their seat for being absent from the house for 15 consecutive sittings.
“The moment they miss the 15 sittings I will invoke the rules”, said the Speaker.
“You don’t fight when you are out, you fight when you are inside here. So it is not good for us to go out and start lamenting from out, let us be here, solve our people’s problems. Getting out of this House is not a solution,” she added.
The opposition MPs who stormed out of Parliament on October 10 in protest over the government alleged failure to respond to concerns of human rights abuse have so far missed about 3 sittings.
However, the Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga has said they will not be intimidated, lashing out at the government for what he called lack of seriousness.
“The reasons we are out of that house are officially known”, Hon Mpuuga said.
Although according to the Order Paper, the government was scheduled to provide a response on the concerns of the oppositions, Among indicated that commitment was made to instead furnish the House with the statement on November 19th and deliberations on the matter be made during plenary on 21st.
Meanwhile, in response to the Speakers’ alleged threats, the opposition Chief Whip John Baptist Nambeshe has said such statements are meant to intimidate the opposition but they will not relent.