Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of the Opposition, has issued a call to Opposition MPs to resist attempts by Committee chairpersons to exclude them from committee meetings due to their ongoing boycott of plenary sittings. Mpuuga deemed such decisions both illegal and devoid of common sense, urging members not to succumb to intimidation.
The call for defiance comes in response to recent directives from Speaker Anita Annet Among, who instructed the Clerk of Parliament to exclude MPs boycotting plenary sessions from participating in committees or traveling abroad. Among emphasized the duty of legislators to serve the nation, warning that disciplinary actions would be taken against individuals who fail to attend House sessions.
Speaking on behalf of the opposition, Mpuuga criticized the Speaker's stance, stating that MPs elected as individuals should not be collectively punished. He encouraged Opposition MPs to defy any Committee chairperson attempting to enforce exclusion, asserting that such actions have no legal basis.
“My members are very restrained, but they are very resilient, and I encourage them to defy any chairperson who attempts to raise this matter because this is a matter that has no space in law and in our rules. So, be ready to see defiance across,” Mpuuga affirmed.
Mpuuga also cautioned Committee chairpersons against overstepping their authority, highlighting that they lack the power to expel MPs based on their boycott of plenary sittings. He asserted that these decisions are not supported by either the law or the Rules of Parliament.
In a broader context, Mpuuga warned against political party leaders undermining the opposition cause by issuing directives contrary to the ongoing boycott. He emphasized the potential risks of causing internal divisions within parties, responding to recent directives from the FDC and DP urging their members to end the boycott and return to the House.
DP whip, Peter Okot, acknowledged disagreements within the DP caucus, noting that a majority of members are choosing to go against the guidance from the DP headquarters. As the opposition maintains its boycott, the political landscape in Parliament remains tense, with the potential for further confrontations between opposition MPs and Committee chairpersons.