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Wednesday, 15 April 2009
 
Parliament met at 2.38 p.m. in Parliament House, Kampala
 
PRAYERS
 
(The Speaker, Mr Edward Ssekandi, in the Chair.)
 
The House was called to order.
 
COMMUNICATION FROM THE CHAIR
 
THE SPEAKER: Honourable members, I welcome you to this sitting. I believe you had a peaceful Easter weekend and you are prepared to embark on parliamentary work. We have a lot to clear and a lot of our time will be taken up by the budget process. Unfortunately, I do not see the chairperson who would brief us on the arrangements they have made to deal with the issue of the budget.
 
Honourable members, I have received sad news that our colleague, hon. Mathias Kasamba, the Member of Parliament for Kakuuto, has lost a father. He died yesterday at Kalisizo Hospital. The deceased is Mzee Joseph Lwekunda, who will be buried in Kakuuto, Mayanja village, tomorrow. It is proper to observe a minute of silence.
 
(Members stood to observe a minute of silence.)
 
2.42
MS BETI KAMYA (FDC, Lubaga Division North, Kampala): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to raise a matter of public concern.
 
It is exactly one year today that this House, on behalf of the country, mourned the death of 20 little girls that were gutted by fire in Buddo Junior School.
 
Mr Speaker, you yourself gave us an almost horrific eye witness account of what happened at the Buddo fire and government made promises that the culprits would be found immediately and brought to book.
 
Yesterday, on the 14 April, I attended a memorial service in honour of the little girls in Buddo in Kyikyamuli Gayaza where Mr and Mrs Kawuma, one of the bereaved families, built a memorial house in honour of their daughter, Juliet Nambalirwa, who died in the fire. Most of the bereaved families were there. They were disappointed that nobody from Buddo school turned up and no one from the ministry or government turned up. I represented the Parliament of Uganda and Owekitiibwa Ssewava Sserubiri represented the Government of Buganda.
 
Mr Speaker, the parents took as through a heart breaking one-year-old down memory lane account of what they have been through in trying to get to the truth about the death of the little ones. Of particular interest to this House and to the country at large was the expression of total disappointment in all the three arms of government. Of the Executive, they are disappointed that when the President visited the scene of crime a few days later and met the parents, he promised them that the report would be out in four days. He indeed turned to the chief of police and demanded that he needed a report in four days. He also promised some mabugo, a consolation package.
 
The Minister of Education, hon. Namirembe Bitamazire, later also commiserated with them and promised that government was going to do its utmost best to console the parents. Mr Speaker, governments best so far has been Shs 500,000 to each of the bereaved families, totalling to Shs10 million to the 20 families.
 
Mr Speaker, the parents had a list of people that have seen the kindness of the state when they have been faced with problems. They remember business people who have been bailed out to the tune of Shs 20 billion when their businesses were ailing. They remember government institutions, businesses and individuals who have seen the kindness of government when they have been sick and needed to go out.
 
Mr Speaker, the bereaved families also had no kind words for Parliament. They noted that they brought a petition to Parliament and followed it up with three letters seeking that Parliament sets a timeline through which a report should be submitted by Police to the country. They are still waiting.
 
Of the third arm of government, the Judiciary, they are very disappointment. They mentioned in no uncertain terms the rudeness with which they received at the hands of none other than Gen. Kale Kayihura who they said at one time almost threw them out of his office and shouted at them saying, This kind of investigation can even take 200 years. They feel sure that the former headmaster of Buddo, Mr Kayongo, knows a known politician funder - I am quoting their words - who knows a lot about this inferno but they are disappointed that he was let off so lightly on bail.
 
Mr Speaker, they confirmed 
 
THE SPEAKER: Now, what is their problem because this is an urgent matter and you have limited time to say what you want? What is it?
 
MS KAMYA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. It was a very sad time. I did promise them that I would report what transpired to this Parliament. But in the interest of time, they confirmed that the two dead bodies of male adults were there but the parents and the teachers were threatened by police not to mention these things again.
 
Mr Speaker, I think if we do not talk about this thing on this day when we sat here and mourned the death of these children, they might think we are as insensitive as they took us to be.
 
When the parents insisted on a preliminary report from the police their spokesperson, Prince Kabumbuli, was invited alone to go to CID where attempts were made to persuade him to accept -
 
THE SPEAKER: Honourable, what do you want to report?
 
MS KAMYA: Mr Speaker, finally, as they expressed their total disappointment in the three arms of government they decided that they are going to take this matter to the International Criminal Court. (Laughter) You may laugh but in the four hours that I spent with them I would not take them lightly. The time I spent with them, the NGOs that were there, I would not take them lightly, which Mr Speaker begs the following questions:
 
1.  Who is police covering up for?
 
2.  Why can police not table whatever report they have now or admit that they do not have any?
 
3.  Mr Speaker, what position shall we take as a country if the ICC should issue a warrant of arrest to the President as they promised to sue him?
 
4.  And finally, Mr Speaker, what is our position on warrants of arrest issued by the ICC? I think it is the right time now to have a position as a country on warrants of arrest issued by the ICC to our own leaders and even leaders from outside so that we do not ad hoc when it happens.
 
Is there anything that this House can do to restore the confidence of the parents on the three arms of government, and indeed the confidence of the people of Uganda because these 20 parents are not the only people who have lost confidence in the arms of government? Thank you.
 
2.51
THE THIRD DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER/ MINISTER OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS (Mr Kirunda Kivejinja): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am not standing up to answer the statement by the hon. Minister but to only remind the House and the country at large that indeed investigations were carried out and the case is in court. Other investigations are continuing. Let us wait until the outcome of court.
 
2.51
THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION (Prof. Morris Ogenga-Latigo): Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I thank hon. Beti Kamya for bringing the concerns of the parents with whom she interacted.
 
Mr Speaker, the loss of young people they way the Buddo children died can be very painful! It becomes equally important that in dealing with such matters, we calm the parents and focus on what must be done. I believe that we are all anxious that the investigations are quickly concluded or the issues are open to reassure the country that when things like these happen, they are actually handled above board so that all the suspicions that have been flying around are eliminated.
 
On our part, my party leaders, we put together some small funds to demonstrate our concern of the loss of these innocent children. I, as Leader of Opposition, also wrote to each of the parents expressing our deep condolences  (Interruption)
 
MR BANYENZAKI: Thank you, honourable, for giving way. Much as we appreciate that the matters of Buddo Junior Primary School are before court, there are many more schools that are being burnt including markets and some of these are not in court. Still in those cases, reports have been promised that they would come out soon. What is the position about these other infernos that have been happening in other schools? If we can say that Buddo is in court, what about other schools?
 
PROF. OGENGA-LATIGO: Thank you very much. That is a broader matter that would be better directed to the minister. But as I was saying, I did write on behalf of the Opposition in Parliament to each of the parents who lost their children. We remain deeply pained by the losses not only in Buddo but in all these other places where this has happened.
 
On our part, we assure the country that we will be available and committed to ensuring that the processes of investigation of all these incidences are open and transparent. Because there is too much suspicion in our country and government must take responsibility to do things in such a way that people get reassured that there is nothing being hidden. You heard the statement of hon. Beti Kamya. You heard the suspicion of the parents as reported by her. You heard the pain and even the desperation that made them lump everybody together.
 
I believe that the Judiciary at this stage would probably be blamed prematurely. It is only when cases go to court that they deal with it. Of course, by their nature they will not express their concern and in their silence, they may be made to look like they do not care. I believe that the Judiciary would honestly handle this matter expeditiously but it is incumbent upon government to really make sure that concerns such as these do not keep appearing each time there is a matter. In other words, your presence and your reassurance is very important. Therefore, I do hope that the concerns that hon. Beti Kamya conveyed from the parents can be addressed appropriately.
 
Mr Speaker, this question of these two extra bodies, can this matter be sorted out and cleared so that we know that there is nothing because any claim, that there were two extra bodies and the matter is not cleared, creates the kind of suspicion that makes even a valid investigation be rejected if it does not reflect what people have assumed to be the case.
 
So, I thank hon. Beti Kamya for bringing this matter and once again we convey our deep sympathies to the parents of all these children and the school, Buddo Junior, for the loss, and to all those elsewhere in the country who have suffered losses because of these unexplained fires that have been rampant throughout the country. Thank you.
 
2.56
MR JOHNSON MALINGA (Independent, Kapelebyong, Amuria): Thank you. Mr Speaker, you recall in the year 2007 parts of our country were hit by floods and water logging. As a result, the President declared parts of Northern and north-eastern Uganda a disaster area. The most affected districts then were Amuria and Katakwi. As a result of this water logging and floods, we lost a lot of our food crops, and as if luck was not on our side, in the year that followed, we had a very long spell of drought and people were not able to plant and hence harvest. Moreover this was the time the people were returning home from the IDP camps as a result of the LRA incursions and cattle rustling.
 
As a result, we have a very acute food shortage now in the homesteads. The prices of food have skyrocketed in the area and other sectors of social life have been affected. We have high drop out rates of children at school. This is affecting even government programmes of UPE and USE.
 
Mr Speaker, as leaders of this area we have been trying to find a way of ameliorating this problem. We have partnered with members of the press 
 
THE SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you remember when you came to see me this afternoon you said you had an urgent matter you wanted to report to the House and that this would take two or three minutes. Can you please introduce that matter?
 
MR JOHNSON MALINGA: This is the matter I am introducing, Mr Speaker.
 
THE SPEAKER: Yes, I agree but I thought you told me of the famine which is in the area. This is what we want to hear.
 
MR MALINGA: Yes, Mr Speaker, I have come here to report to the House that we have a very acute food shortage and I have come here to appeal to this august House, especially the Members of the Executive who have the authority to manage the national resource envelope, to find some money and buy food and help the people who are in dire need.
 
I have also come here to take this opportunity to remind His Excellency, the President that during the flooding, he promised Shs 100 million to the affected areas, which money has not been remitted until today. And now that we have another problem, this money could be remitted to those districts that are highly affected and they purchase food for these people.
 
Finally, Mr Speaker, I would like to appeal to the humanitarian agencies in and outside Teso to come to the rescue of our people.
 
My dear colleagues, one part of our country is bleeding. I really appeal for your support. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
 
3.00
MS FLORENCE EKWAU (FDC, Woman Representative, Kaberamaido): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I stand on a matter that I assume to be of grave importance to this nation. This concerns the Ministry of Public Service.
 
Mr Speaker, I happen to be following the pension of some senior citizens of this country but I am disappointed with the way the Ministry of Public Service handles the senior citizens. Most times I have gone there between 9.00 a.m. to 10.00a.m and by this time there is no one in the offices that I have been directed to go to. And at one point I was told that it was because of the traffic jam. So, the traffic jam affects only members of the offices of public service in this country.
 
The most affected blocks that raised and instigated my disappointment were the pensions block and the accounts block. You find people lining from one end to the other. The officers are not there and no one is there to attend to the people. You remember that the citizens concerned are of very old age. Some of them send their relatives to ply for them. Even after trying to come to Kampala myriads of times, to try to follow up their pensions, they are still treated that way.
 
I address this to the Ministry of Public Service, do Ugandans not deserve better? Can they not be treated a little better regarding the commitment and the first class service they gave to this nation? I would thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
 
THE SPEAKER: Minister of Public Service, do you want to say something?
 
3.02
THE MINISTER OF STATE, PUBLIC SERVICE (Ms Prisca Mbaguta): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I want to thank the honourable member for her question because the question helps us to improve. I want to say that we manage time and we keep time but in this particular case we shall investigate what could have happened on that day because as a ministry we do actually cherish time management.
 
In terms of focusing on the old people, I think as a ministry we have attended to old people but I also would like to say that when you are following up money, whatever answer you are given, you feel you want your money, and the officers do explain why some of the payments have not been made. They are related to documentation and in some cases the budget allocation for that particular month, quota, is finished and payments have been made and we are waiting for another release. Thank you.
 
MR ODONGA OTTO: Thank you so much, Mr Speaker. I have personally involved myself in dealing with the minister. I went up to the public service and I was given very good attention. I made an appointment on phone, but unfortunately the appointment did not materialise. What I have seen in public service  I do not know if the minister would want to tell us if they have thought of privatising management of pension. It is a worthwhile idea so that we have several firms bidding to employees to ensure that their pensions are managed well for their old age. Otherwise, the problem as you have said is overwhelming.
 
So, has your ministry considered getting consultants to advise you on how a privatised pension scheme would work? To me, even NSSF is a little more liberal and accessible than the Ministry of Public Service and yet this is just a case that can be solved by privatisation. So would you consider that idea; either a workshop to solve this problem once and for all.
 
MRS SSEKABIRA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would like to find out from the minister what plans they have for our senior citizens to make it easier for them to meet the ministers and their services because the stairs are too many. I am talking about accessibility. I am not in that age group yet, but I suffer when I go there. I am a Member of Parliament and I have all the people who can assist me in one way or another - but this is a public office!
 
When is government planning to ensure that there is a lift so that we can all access the ministers and the public services whenever we need to? This is discrimination. The senior people they serve have similar problems; they will fall off the stairs and then get disabilities in their old age. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
 
THE SPEAKER: There are apparently several problems in your ministry, hon. Minister. Would you care to find out what is happening, especially on payment of pension which is not being done?
 
MR NANDALA-MAFABI: Thank you, Mr Speaker. You recall that we passed money for a pay reform to deal with handling pension; we gave them money twice. But recently in the budget, we passed money to pay all pensioners. So when the minister comes here and talks as if  these are the people who are letting President Museveni down! (Laughter)
 
MS MBAGUTA: Mr Speaker, we are not letting down H.E the President. This Parliament approved Shs 100 billion - I will come and present how that Shs 100 billion has been disbursed to our pensioners and the numbers we have paid.
 
Retiring is a continuous process and pensioners continue to come. It is only a matter of getting sufficient resources for us to pay. The arrears that are mainly for the very old people have been paid and we shall continue to pay until the last person in that category is settled.
 
But we will come and make a statement, Mr Speaker. I take note of the issue of accessibility, because the building that we are occupying was constructed sometime back. But I have taken note of hon. Ssekabiras concern of accessibility.
 
On the question of privatising pension administration, that is a bigger government policy but the Minister of Finance did present a Bill here for liberalising the pensions scheme. But when that is through, we shall come up to indicate the administration of public service pension and indicate how we shall fit into that programme of liberalisation. Our view is that the public service pension will remain most likely intact. The public service pension is a non-funded scheme. We would like to move to a contributory scheme. But we shall come and present those principles here once the Bill from Finance has been passed and accented. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
 
MR WACHA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I raised this matter some time back during the budget debate. There are old people who come from upcountry and stay around Kampala, struggling to walk to the Ministry of Public Service every day for weeks, and yet they are not satisfied with the services in the ministry. Has the ministry ever considered decentralising payment of these pensions to the districts?
 
MS MBAGUTA: Pension processing is decentralised because public officers belong to ministries, departments and local government. And the triggering of payment starts with the ministries.
 
Mr Speaker, payment cannot be decentralised because it is decentralised to the individual public officer that has retired. The money is paid directly to the retirees bank account; to their nearest bank. There is nothing to decentralise because pensioners indicate that pension is in their bank accounts by 20th of every month. It is a fact that you can investigate. The process is also decentralised. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
 
THE SPEAKER: What I would want to know, can your office send me my pension without me coming to Kampala to prompt them? Is there a need of prompting you before payment is made?
 
PROF. LATIGO: Thank you, Mr Speaker. The cases that the Members of Parliament are referring to are not straight. The minister is talking about cases that are straight; where things are processed and nothing gets lost.
 
I did not want to rise on this matter, but there is the case of my father whose pension was stopped in 1993. My late father died in 2004; I was already a senior lecturer at Makerere and I tried to pursue his pension. I became a Member of Parliament and still tried to pursue his pensions. We brought files twice and they said, Well, the Auditor-General has to re-open the file. Up to now, as I speak, I am a whole Member of Parliament, Leader of Opposition, but my late fathers pension that had to be paid has not been paid yet.
 
So, just think of many ordinary people who come to Kampala how they suffer. This is an area that the minister should address herself to because it is happening. There are people who will come and they do not even know where the documents are gone and there is no body to help them. It is so rampant in the pensions office. This is the area where you have a problem, Madam Minister.
 
THE SPEAKER: Let us end this matter. I think the minister has taken the point in that there is an outcry in the way pension is being handled. They should sit down and review the process so that people do not have to move from Kisoro to Kampala to demand for their pension. And as you said that you will make a statement, please bring this statement as soon as possible.
 
I see the chairperson of budget; do you want to make a statement or an announcement?
 
3.15
THE CHAIRPERSON, COMMITTEE ON BUDGET (Ms Rose Akol): Thank you, Mr Speaker. Parliament is currently in the process of scrutinising the budget frame work paper and we are supposed to be ready with our report by 15th May. So, I just wanted to give an update on how far we have gone.
 
Mr Speaker, we have already issued guidelines to all chairpersons of the sessional committees on how they should go about scrutinising the budget framework paper which is already with each Member of Parliament.
 
Secondly, on 9th March, I communicated to the sessional committee chairpersons on when they should appear ready with reports to the Budget Committee for compilation. And for the record, I would like to read this schedule.
 
"  On 27th April, the Committee of Agriculture should be appearing to present its report to the Budget committee on the scrutiny of the national budget framework paper. In the afternoon, we will be having the Committee of Defence.
 
"  On 28th it will be Natural Resources in the morning and the Legal Committee in the afternoon.
 
"  On 29th it will be the Social Services Committee in the morning and the Committee on Tourism in the afternoon.
 
"  On 30th April, it will be the Finance Committee in the morning and the Committee on Gender in the afternoon.
 
"  On 4th May, morning is for Infrastructure and in the afternoon ICT.
 
"  On 5th May, it will be the Presidential Affairs Committee in the morning and Foreign Affairs in the afternoon.
 
"  Then, on 6th May, we shall be having Local Government in the morning.
 
Mr Speaker, I have given this timetable so that the sessional committees are also able to plan in advance on when they should be able to call meetings with any person whom they would want to appear in that committee including the ministers.
 
Now, since this national budget framework paper was laid on 1st April, Members of Parliament were only able to have copies mid-last week; that is by Wednesday. Mr Speaker, I would like to request that sessional committees be allowed to meet both in the morning and the afternoons with effect from 20th to 29th April to give them adequate time to go through the national budget framework paper in order to produce the required reports in time.
 
I would also like to inform the sessional committee chairpersons that the budget office has a budget officer allocated to each sessional committee. These budget officers have already prepared issue papers for each committee. So you should get in touch with your respective budget officers to help you in the scrutiny of the national budget framework paper. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
 
PRESENTATION OF PAPERS
 
3.19
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PRIVATISATION (Ms Rukia Chekamondo): Mr Speaker and hon. Members, I beg to lay on Table (Interruption)
 
THE SPEAKER: Hon. Member from Arua, what is it?
 
MS ANGUFIRU: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I have urgent information to give to the Minister of Education and the whole government. I was in Arua -
 
THE SPEAKER: Can you make it tomorrow? Hon. Members, let this procedure be known. The other time I heard hon. Kibanzanga complaining on radio about the procedure of making a statement when it is not on the Order Paper: you have to see the Speaker and explain the nature of the subject that you want to air-out during the session. And that is going to be the procedure and we are not going to change it. Hon. Minister, please continue.
 
MS CHEKAMONDO: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Hon. Members, I beg to lay on Table a request to Parliament for government to borrow Units of Accounts 52.51 million from the African Development Bank for financing the construction of Mbarara-Nkenda and Tororo-Lira electricity lines project. Mr Speaker, I beg to lay.
 
THE SPEAKER: Hon. Members let the appropriate committee scrutinise the papers and subsequently report to Parliament.
 
MR ARUMADRI: Mr Speaker, whereas I am aware that this is not the time either to raise objectives or to debate the merits of the paper being laid, my heart bleeds that we are borrowing more money to provide electricity to areas which already have got abundant electricity and leaving some regions like West Nile in total darkness.
 
I would have liked part of this money to extend electricity from Kamdini to the West Nile region. I say this very strongly. We are part of this country, we are citizens and we pay taxes, so I cannot sit here idly watching money being given to areas where power already exists. The minister should withdraw this paper and include West Nile.
 
THE SPEAKER: Hon. Members, this is not the time to debate the subject matter, but there is merit in the issue you have raised. I think it should go to the appropriate committee, the Committee on National Economy, and he presents his grievances. They will be considered.
 
PROF. OGENGA-LATIGO: Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Since the Minister of Energy is in the House and this matter is truly a burning issue, given the fact that even the generator that was supplying power in West Nile closed and they are in darkness, could the minister help us so that his anger is mitigated with clear promises. The Minister of Energy is here.
 
THE SPEAKER: Hon. Members, this matter came up, I think last week, and a statement was made here by the Government Chief Whip promising another statement to come. This matter has already been here but he cannot come just now. It was raised last week, I think in your absence, and it was agreed that a statement will be made, not now.
 
PRESENTATION OF PAPERS
 
3.24
THE CHAIRMAN, PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE (Mr Nathan NandalaMafabi): Mr Speaker and hon. Members, I wish to lay on Table the Auditor-Generals report for the year ended 30 June 2008 for value for money audits. This report has nine DFMs and it will be of interest that members take note and read them. They include: National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) programme, distribution of water to urban areas, implementation of North-West Smallholder Agriculture Development project, prevention and control of livestock diseases, provision of water and maintenance of water facilities in district local governments, Uganda Aids Control project, management of health programmes in the health sector, Universal Primary Education programme and engineering audit of CHOGM activities.
 
Mr Speaker, I beg to lay it on Table.
 
THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much. Let the appropriate committee study the report and expedite the report to us.
 
3.25
THE CHAIRMAN, PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE (Mr Nathan Nandala  Mafabi): Mr Speaker and hon. Members, I wish to lay on the Table the performance report on the Office of the Auditor-General for the year ended 30 June 2008. I beg to lay.
 
THE SPEAKER: Thank you. Let the appropriate committee handle the subject.
 
MR KATUNTU: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. These four reports came out at the same time, these two and the earlier one laid by the chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee, but I wonder why the Clerk does not include the Auditor-Generals report on the local government accounts. They all came out at the same time and all of them are time bound. We are supposed to debate them within six months.
 
THE SPEAKER: Since these reports have been tabled by the chairperson, can you table the one which you have and we take it up by adjusting the Order Paper?
 
MR KATUNTU: I will lay it after the next because it is on its way. I was not on the Order Paper but I thought next time-
 
THE SPEAKER: It will be included tomorrow then, so that you prepare yourself.
 
PROF. OGENGA-LATIGO: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Last week we were due to receive two statements from the Minister for the Presidency. I had waited for the first statement so that I would also rise on a procedural matter.
 
Some time ago, I raised a matter which I believe is very serious and important to this country, on the statement that H.E the President made in Arua that the people of West Nile voted for Dr Besigye and at the next election there will be civil war. This matter was referred to the appropriate minister, who promised that a statement would come last week. The statement never appeared and now, even the two statements that were on the Order Paper last week from the Minister of the Presidency have disappeared. We are seeing statements on homosexuality when the other minister was ready for these statements.
 
I believe that the issues that were raised on patriotism and on the threat for violence if the next election is voted for differently in certain places were really important. Could we know from the Leader of Government Business when we can get these statements? We were promised and I think Government should stick to the promises they make.
 
THE THIRD DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND MINSTER OF INFORMATION AND NATIONAL GUIDANCE (Mr Kirunda Kivejinja): Mr Speaker, all questions put to Government will be brought in time. (Laughter) (Prof. Ogenga-Latigo rose_) Just hold on. I am standing and I am explaining. Just give me that chance. I am not used to that method of work. The pending questions will be answered but we wanted the specific ministers to answer them. I will undertake that they are answered next week.
 
THE SPEAKER: Since this matter was before us last week, it has been two weeks and we hope the statement is available. I think it should be included tomorrow so that the minister makes a statement.
 
3.30
THE MINISTER OF STATE, OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, ETHICS AND INTEGRITY (Dr James Nsaba Buturo): Mr Speaker, I request that copies of the statement be distributed to honourable members.
 
Hon. Members will recall that both the National Anthem and the Motto of Uganda are about God and Uganda. As much as possible, most Ugandans strive to be guided by standards that God has prescribed. To the best of my knowledge, those standards do not include the promotion of anal sex at the expense of heterosexual sex as a means of maintaining human reproduction.
 
If Government were to legalise marriage between men and men, and women and women, we would be talking about a threat to human civilisation. In such a marriage, either of two individuals decides to act as a husband or wife to the other. This situation is what is known as homosexuality or same-gender marriage.
 
Lately, Mr Speaker, some international groups and countries have been demanding that Uganda should legalise homosexuality. Those behind this abnormal, unhealthy, unnatural as well as illegal lifestyle have argued that doing so would be a human right and in defence of freedom. In Uganda, UNICEF, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Frontline Human Rights Defenders, and East and Horn of Africa Human Rights groups have been in the forefront of a campaign to legalise homosexuality.
 
The groups above have been assisted by local NGOs that depend on them for funding this propaganda among our population. In fact, ten years ago UNICEF helped in the funding and distribution of books to schools, which were unknown to the Ministry of Education and Sports, and they were popularising homosexuality. Following UNICEFs unwelcome intervention, I recently wrote to the Minister of Education and Sports to express our resentment of their promotion of illegality and called for a tough response that would curb such intrusions.
 
Mr Speaker, the 1995 Constitution, Article 31 (1), provides: Men and women of the age of 18 years and above have the right to marry and to found a family and are entitled to equal rights in marriage during marriage and at its dissolution. 
Clause 3 of the same Article further provides thus: Marriage shall be entered into with the free consent of the man and woman intending to marry.
 
Mr Speaker, permit me to draw the attention of the hon. Members to the fact that the 2005 amendment of the Constitution created a new Article 31 (2) (a), which specifically prohibits homosexuality. The law therefore is clear.
 
The position of the Government in excluding same sex individuals from marrying is comprehensively and unequivocally against homosexuality. The scope of this exclusion undoubtedly includes the sexual act. The Government, however, goes beyond this and constitutionally bars homosexuals from entitlement to the enjoyment of rights conferred to married persons under the law.
 
The law criminalises homosexuality under section 145 and 146 of the Penal Code Act of Uganda, Cap 120, Volume 6 of the Laws of Uganda. It states as follows:
Any person who-
(a) Has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; or
 
(b) has carnal knowledge of an animal; or
 
(c) permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature;
commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for life.
 
The difference in the two sub sections is that in (a) the offence is in respect of both male (gays) and females (lesbians) engaging in unnatural acts, while subsection (c) is in respect of only a male committing the offence, which we call sodomy. Section 146 of the same Act further criminalises and penalises those persons that attempt to commit the unnatural offences stated in Section 145 mentioned above. The sentence for this felony is imprisonment for seven years. Therefore, the law under Section 145 (c) of the Penal Code Act of Uganda clearly provides for the offence of homosexuality in as far as it penalises any person who permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him against the order of nature.
 
Mr Speaker, for the information of hon. Members, there are over 70 countries that have categorically outlawed homosexuality. That means there are many countries around the world that see things our way. They are prepared to lead the rest of the world in insisting that nature must not be tampered with for the sake of the philosophy that anything goes. That said, both promoters and apologists of homosexuality are using all the tricks in the book to have it legalised in countries such as Uganda where it is outlawed. The latest is the attempt to use the United Nations to pass a resolution they hoped would be binding to all countries in the world.
 
At the United Nations, there are attempts by some countries to highlight sexual rights, which we believe will be used to promote homosexuality and pornography. Uganda is in a unique position to stop all this since she is a member of the G-77 voting block. Our representative to the UN, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, currently chairs the Organisation of Islamic Countries conferences on the Commission that is leading certain negotiations.
 
It is important that we do not compromise on the values that we stand for. Uganda must stand firm, whatever our friends say. The world is looking to Uganda for leadership on this vital question of human reproduction. (Laughter)
 
Mr Speaker, two weeks ago, I wrote to Ambassador Dr Ruhakana Rugunda and reminded him of Ugandas position, which opposes legalisation of homosexuality. It is the duty of Ugandans to be vigilant because agents of immorality are busy using all lies and deception to hurt our society. Such lies include claims that some people are born homosexuals. The truth of the matter is that there is no scientific evidence that supports this outlandish claim. If their claim were true, they would not be busy buying their way into our schools and other sections of society, enticing the people there to become homosexuals. Let it be remembered that many former homosexuals have denounced their deviance and reverted to their original normal condition.
 
Government is aware that some non governmental organisations are recruiting our youth and taking them abroad under the pretext of giving them education, when in fact their motive is to turn them into homosexuals who will then come back and spread the vice. There are many others as well as individuals that are in this country quietly recruiting our people into this illegal, unnatural and abnormal practice of homosexuality. Government will take appropriate steps to rectify this dangerous development.
 
Uganda will not be forced to legalise a practice that we consider illegal, unnatural and abnormal. It is not a practice we can defend, if we are to protect our families. Having known that the current law on homosexuality is weak, Government will instead proceed to enact a more comprehensive one, which will treat as illegal, among other things, the promotion of homosexuality and membership to homosexual groups.
 
Because pornography and homosexuality are bedfellows in their campaign to render apart our way of life, a Bill on pornography will be presented to this august House very shortly. Soon after that, a Bill on homosexuality will also be tabled.
 
Mr Speaker, Government appeals to Ugandans to remain vigilant because quite a number of our schools have been penetrated and havoc is being rendered there. It has gone to other institutions as well. Promoters of this abnormal practice work discreetly and include people in positions of responsibility in our land.
 
Government also calls upon religious leaders to work with Government in fighting this type of immorality. Our appeal to the media is clear - they should not give oxygen or publicity to these groups which are operating on fringes of our society.
 
Lastly, Mr Speaker and hon. Members, I would like to say that Government does not hate homosexuals; Government only hates the act of promoting anal sex by gays or use of gadgets by lesbians. To this end, Government will do everything possible to counsel and support victims of homosexuality with a view to encourage them to resume normal life.
 
It is worth noting that even goats are capable of distinguishing between he-goats and she-goats. (Laughter) Why should homosexuals want to relegate human beings to a level where they are incapable of differentiating between a male and a female and vice versa? If we were to legalise homosexuality, wouldnt it spell the end of human civilisation as we know it today? Where would children come from to take over from us when we all go away from this earth? What about Gods command that we should reproduce for procreation? Government believes that the traditional family must be protected from those who wish to destroy it. Thank you, Mr Speaker. (Applause)
 
THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much. Let us have hon. Kibanzanga.
 
3.43
SHADOW MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND NATIONAL GUIDANCE (Mr Christopher Kibanzanga): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I thank the minister for his statement though it gives sad memories and situations.
 
Mr Speaker and hon. Members, I would like to debate this statement using a moral rule, which states that there shall never be human rights and freedoms against humanity. We cannot respect your human rights and freedoms if they are against humanity. Homosexuality is evil; it is a sin and a crime. Why do I think so? It is because it goes against Gods will, against the law of natural justice and against our national values.
 
In Africa and the world at large, we value families. What is a family? Can you generate a family by being a homosexual? Can you produce children? Can a society reproduce itself because men are sleeping with men?
 
Mr Speaker and hon. Members, our Constitution does not allow this practice. Our laws do not allow this and our cultures do not allow homosexuality. I do not know where the Minister has found problems in dealing with it. What is the problem? Is the Government immoral itself? I am saying this because the law is in place to curtail this vice. We know that you have opened up society unnecessarily, but that cannot permit extermination of the human race. You can imagine if all of us were homosexuals, you will have exterminated the human race and there would never be society tomorrow.
 
Hon. Minister of Ethics and Integrity, why dont you fight this (Interjections) No, this statement is not enough. The other day I failed to explain to my children a picture of homosexuals that had appeared on the first page of the New Vision - a government paper! I think it appeared two weeks ago. They were addressing a press conference in some hotel on Acacia Avenue. The police was not there to follow up this matter and neither was the minister nor the entire Government. Now, some of us who are parents and are responsible were at pain to explain to our children what was happening. Imagine a child asking you, Daddy, explain to me how a man can sleep with another man; what do you say as a parent?
 
As a Shadow Minister in charge of national guidance -(Laughter)- you have my support to stop this vice from entering our society. (Applause) We must exterminate homosexuals before they exterminate society.
 
We know you have received everything from the West including rotten and counterfeit goods, and you have opened up the country for all those sorts of things, but we cannot afford to open up our society to homosexuality. We must exterminate them. I thank you, Mr Speaker, and I thank you, hon. Members.
 
3.48
MS BEATRICE ANYWAR (FDC, Woman Representative, Kitgum): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I thank the minister for coming up with this statement. As a parent, I think it has been long overdue but well, better late than never.
 
The issue of homosexuality in this country scares us as parents and as a nation because the future is really being contaminated. It worries me when I read this statement and find that big international bodies which we have been looking to have been mentioned, for example, UNICEF - the defenders of children. What is it? This has scared me because I look at UNICEF when we are talking about children. Now, I think we must think very seriously about our country. I hear even the UN is being lobbied for evil.
 
It should not surprise us that normally the poor in society are the most vulnerable hence Uganda is almost at the top of it.
 
I would like the government not to only mention these bodies - because these are big international bodies  but there should be some diplomatic ties we have and communication to that effect. As a mother, I would be comfortable if you engaged these bodies, for the interest of this country and for the interest of the future of these youth, and saw to it that we are dealing with people who are ethically cautious.
 
They want to say, One mans meat is another mans poison. It could be okay maybe outside this country, but as Ugandans we are saying that this is poison for the future generation as well as the current generation. We are dealing with people we do not understand and whose psychology we cannot determine.
 
The minister has outlined that we have laws in place as per now, but he also admitted that they have been really weak. All this time that we have had these laws in place, have we successfully even prosecuted two people who have been engaged in homosexuality or has the whole set of laws in place been a failure? If they are a failure, it is very urgent that we immediately change these laws to address the need of our society. We need to prosecute people who are contaminating the African society. We have cultural values that we have to protect. If these laws are weak, please urgently come to the Floor of Parliament so that we do something about it. We should not just be saying, We shall look at it. When? It is urgent.
 
It was also outlined on page 5 that we have gadgets in this country - although the minister did not mention the gadgets so I remain guessing what type of gadgets we have- that are being used by the lesbians. If these gadgets are here, can we have an immediate ban on their importation into this country rather than just lament about them and let them circulate among our people? I believe we do not manufacture these gadgets. I call upon the Government to immediately ban their importation. We glorify investors bringing in fake things but we do not deserve it all. We should be able to say, No to those which are contaminating our society.
 
I would also like to salute the church leaders who have stood very firmly to say that we do not need help from dirty hands, from those who we think are doing bad things. They should not blindfold us by giving us gifts. I think as a country, we should also stand up if some countries are sending poison to our country. However, because we are beggars, we continue not calling a spade a spade because we need help from them. We should detest help from such friends who bring it with double-edged swords. We do not want them to give us help and at the same time contaminate our society.
 
I want to see this Government identify people we are dealing with who are ethically upright. We do not want to deal with people who will give us help and at the same time distribute books in our schools which are contaminating our children.
 
Lastly, Mr Speaker, we would like to call upon the government to partner with all those who care to eradicate this evil. We, parents, know that there are some schools, especially the single sex schools, where children do horrible things. A long time ago, there was a school where one child was killed because he never brought water for another child yet he was supposed to act like a wife.
 
I want us to partner with institutions like schools and put stringent laws. Churches and families must also be brought on board to eradicate this evil. I do not want to think that my children or any of our children in this House are engaged in this. So to eradicate this, we must start from our families; check on our children and partner with schools, hospitals and churches. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
 
3.56
MS GRACE OBURU (NRM, Woman Representative, Tororo): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, and I would like to thank the minister for this elaborate report, which he has brought to our attention. I would like to comment on two issues. Since it is well known that there are a few organisations, which the minister has mentioned here, is there no way that the country can further investigate these people and even outlaw them from this country? This is because they are killing our culture.
 
Secondly, I would like to see, among the penalties that a homosexual practitioner should get, an addition to the already existing penalty of life imprisonment. Since we still have the death penalty, we should actually condemn these people to death because they are killing our children and actually desirous of exterminating Ugandans. They just want to come and occupy this land.
 
Much as they are doing this and teaching children these manners that even our forefathers did not have, this thing is going to spread like hot fire. We would like the government to take this very seriously because I understand that single sex schools also practice this. The leadership in these single sex schools should also be investigated.
 
Mr Speaker, I would like to reiterate the idea of having these people who come into the country investigated because they come under the cover of helping us yet they have a hidden agenda. Can we know their terms of reference? That is how they camouflage - under the cover of helping us because we are a poor country yet they are bringing us a vice, which is not in our culture. I thank you.
 
3.58
MR HILARY ONEK (NRM, Lamwo County, Kitgum): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I think this paper is very timely, and I wish the law would also come very soon to the Floor of the House to ensure that this practice is criminalised effectively and those involved in the practice are punished severely.
 
I would like us to have some solutions alongside. I understand that homosexuality is practiced in our prisons. Recently in the papers, they wrote that prisoners were celebrating when one Jewish prisoner was going to jail because they were going to feast on him. I think one of the things that government should do is find out and separate homosexuals and have separate prisons for them where they are not going to mix with and contaminate those who have gone there for reformation.
 
Secondly, married prisoners should start enjoying conjugal rights because starving them for long can create difficulties. I think those are things that must be implemented among other concerns. The L.C systems must also start watching out for homosexuals so that they are identified and shamed or made to face the law.
 
Finally, I would like the medical people to do more homework and check the brains of homosexuals as it could be a disease that can be cured. Maybe their hormones are not normal or something of that sort. Those are my few contributions, and I think that a practical approach will, in part, solve the problem. Thank you.
 
4.01
MR SANTOS PIRO (Independent, East Moyo, Adjumani): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, and I thank the honourable minister for this paper. I would like to ask the minister whether he is thinking about lowering the age limit of the youth. This is because these days maturity is attained so early to the extent that nature does not wait for one to reach 18 years. I think it is very important to lower the age limit from 18 to 16 years for persons who feel they should interact in marriage so that they can go ahead and do so. In most cases, and especially in schools, homosexuality is practiced amongst those of 14 years to 16 years. This is as a result of urging them to wait until they reach the age of 18 years.
 
Secondly, I think it is very important for Government to create jobs for the youth. This is because poverty drives the youth to receive money from these agents in exchange for recruitment into homosexuality. So if the youth are kept (Interruption)
 
MS AKIROR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would like to find out whether it is really in order for the honourable member holding the Floor to try to advocate for the lowering of the age of consent to 16 years yet it was constitutionally resolved that 18 years and above is the consent age for sex. He is trying to promote defilement when we are trying to fight homosexuality. Is he really in order?
 
THE SPEAKER: Well, I think he is suggesting lowering the age limit. This practice has happened; there was a time when you could only be called an adult at the age of 21 years but it was reduced to 18 years and now at this age you can even vote. So he is advocating for a change of policy and I think that is okay.
 
MR SANTOS: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for your wise ruling. I was saying that Government should create more jobs for the youth because it is partly redundancy which causes them to get involved in getting money for these agents who recruit the youths into immoral acts.
 
Government should also put a mechanism in place so that parents are educated about discussions on issues of marriage amongst the youth.
 
In my village, parents instead of being transparent to the youth about sexual activities, they look at engagement in relationship as if it is criminal in society. As a result, youth look at engagement in relationships as something which should be done secretly. In the process you find that the girls and boys engage in sex secretly. They get to learn about these God-given activities which they are supposed to mature into. They practice it amongst themselves and that is really one way of learning homosexuality. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
(Members rose_)
 
THE SPEAKER: But hon. Members, we have two more statements, including one on Kasese. It appears we have all agreed on the statement. Cant we really save that time so that we hear the two statements and debate on them? We have so far taken 25 minutes. Dont you agree that we get the two statements? [Members: yes] Thank you very much.
 
4.06
MS BEATRICE BYENKYA (NRM, Woman Representative Hoima): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I am going to be brief because I am in agreement with everything the minister has said but as usual we do a lot of talking and a little of implementation.
 
One of the things I wish Government to come up with and it was really clearly portrayed when hon. Nekema came up and said that it might be a disease, cabinet is not totally in agreement whether it is a disease or a behavioural anomaly.
 
Government should first of all come up- where do they place homosexuality? Is it a disease or an abnormal behaviour? It is up to them because I have ever heard some ministers saying, Well it is a disease we should consider, and it is such a disease that people have to be conscripted into behaving in such a way.
 
That notwithstanding, I feel Government should come up- instead of just making statements here, the children should be sensitised of what homosexuality is since we have been talking about other things, we should also sensitises the youth starting from an early age- (Interruption)
 
MR NANADALA-MAFABI: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I thank my colleague for giving way. Recently, Pastor Kiwewesi was being held for homosexuality and sodomy. He went for refugee in the ministers office, the Ministry of Ethics and Integrity. The Penal Code says you criminalise  Instead of the minister handing over the man to police he protected him. (Laughter)
 
MR NSABA BUTURO: Mr Speaker, that is a total distortion of what really happened. That story of Pastor Kiwewesi did actually take place at a time when I had a meeting with pastors long before it happened and he happened to be one of the pastors who came. But it is not I was in a cohort with the pastor.
 
But Mr Speaker, more generally I must say I am encouraged by what the Members are saying. We will be coming up with new proposals which are comprehensive, and I can count on the support of the hon. Members.
 
MS BYENKYA: Thank you. I didnt expect that piece of information. I am talking about sensitising our children against the vice of homosexuality, not talking about it.
 
And Mr Minister, what is it really that you want Parliament to do? Everything is in place, and as far as I know, people are being arrested even by being thought of going to do a particular vice. Why arent some of the people who are thought to be involved in this vice arrested? Some of them are known and you can even see them by their way of dressing and appearance. Government has not come up really to address the issue of homosexuality and to arrest the culprits. You should stop talking about it and implement things as they are.
 
THE SPEAKER: Hon. Members, in the gallery we have members of Kikola Taka Farmers Association from Bulamogi constituency, in Kaliro District represented by hon. Gagawala. You are welcome. (Applause)
 
MR OKOT OGONG: Mr Speaker, this is a very important statement made by the minister. We have heard from Members but I want us to go beyond the debate here. Let us make a resolution of Parliament, a concrete resolution of Parliament about homosexuality. We need to have a committee that will draft that resolution and Members of Parliament must pass that resolution for us to give the minister support against the fight of homosexuality.
 
THE SPEAKER: What you do, if you have a resolution, draft it and submit it to Parliament. We shall give you space. (Members rose_)
 
Hon. Members, I think really we should close this debate, because we have all agreed with the principle behind this statement. Now let us wait for the resolution, motion and then we conclude, so that we use this time for another statement.
 
MR NSABA BUTURO: Mr Speaker, I am just overwhelmed by the support from both sides of the House. As I did indicate, we will be coming shortly with a more comprehensive proposals that will clearly address this very important subject.
 
Can I therefore request that when that time comes, this overwhelming support that we have seen will be demonstrated at that time so that we can also tell the entire world that Uganda is not going to go the way other countries have.
 
MINISTERIAL STATEMENT
 
4. 14
THE THIRD DEUTY PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS (Mr Kirunda Kivejinja): Thank you, Mr Speaker. This is the answer 
 
THE SPEAKER: The answer?
 
MR KIVEJINJA: A statement in answer to the oral question concerning the issues raised by hon. Winifred Kiiza Bihande, Woman Member of Parliament representing Kasese District.
 
Hon. Kiiza asked a question to clarify when is the government solving the problem of land at Lwehingo where both cultivators and pastoralists were stopped from carrying out any agricultural activities until the government finds a peaceful settlement between the two groups which were permanently clashing?
 
The land in question was part of government land degazzetted from Queen Elizabeth National Park and is approximately 15,000 acres. It was to be used by both cultivators and cattle keepers.
 
The inter-ministerial committee which was settling Basongola cattle keepers from Queen Elizabeth National Park and landless cultivators who had approached Government for assistance to co-exist peacefully decided to remove both cultivators and cattle keepers from a portion of land of 1577.5 acres so as to put an end to rampant clashes between the two groups where some deaths of livestock and people had occurred.
 
I note that hon. Kiiza was a member of the committee and fully participated in the resettlement process. At the time the decision was taken, much of this land was under cotton cultivation. There were herdsmen as well. The committee cut off 1577.5 acres following the natural boundary between the cattle keepers and cultivators leaving the rest of the land for cultivators.
 
It was also found that some cultivators owned pieces of land in the portion, which had been cut off  they had titles. It was agreed that Government compensates the owners of these pieces of land so as to settle the remaining small group of cattle keepers.
 
Twenty-six Bibanja owners were identified and government is working on the modalities to compensate them too. As of now, the rest of the degazzetted land is being used by cultivators.
 
Governments action was as much as possible guided by the resolve to ensure permanent peace and harmonious existence. In line with this, 1577.5 acres which are available will go to cattle keepers while 13422.5 acres will go to cultivators. The few land owners affected by this exercise will be compensated as soon as valuation and negotiations are completed. The government technical team is handling the matter with the urgency it deserves. Thank you
 
4.17
MRS WINIFRED KIIZA (FDC, Woman Representative, Kasese): I would like to thank the minister for coming up with this statement which he decided to make a question. But I want to first make it clear that hon. Winifred Kiiza was not a member of this committee until we asserted ourselves as leaders of the district to be made members of the committee.
 
The Office of the Prime Minister is fully aware that when the inter-ministerial committee started going to the ground, somehow leaders from the area were isolated from this problem until we told that committee that they were not going to manage without the leaders from the area. And actually it was after the committee could not make it alone that they called upon the leaders. We accepted and went down to the ground with the ministers.
 
Something else I would like this House to know is that the acreage the minister is talking about is actually not known by Government because this land is not surveyed. And even when they were talking about acres on ground, it was later realised that the actual land is not what the ministers are talking about. I want to know from my colleague whether actually this land has been fully surveyed and whether the real acreage he is talking about is what is known.
 
My problem was about leaving this land for a long period and that if we are to divide between the cultivators and the cattle keepers, that government should do it very fast. Because the cultivators depend on this land for survival and the cattle keepers at the same time depend on it for survival. Postponing a problem is not solving it.
 
In a way, I am seeing that government is just postponing a problem and we are not solving it. We are talking about eradication of poverty and in someway creating poverty for some people.
 
My intention was to know how soon and then when you start saying the inter-ministerial committee is still going ahead to see how they can amicably settle this situation, I do not know how long again the people will wait.
 
Like I have been saying, the cultivators and the cattle keepers have now missed a long period without them gaining from their land. I do not know for how long they will continue suffering like that, Mr Minister. Should we wait for another year? And if we are to wait for another year, how will they be surviving? We are talking about peoples lives  postponing it means postponing a problem for them. And when you hear of them starting to sell off their children for survival  we are passing a law here to ban trafficking in persons. Anyway, what I would like to know is: When does Government intend to sort out this issue?
 
THE SPEAKER: I think the issue now is: When? Other details-
 
MR RWAMIRAMA: Mr Speaker, I would like to inform the hon. colleague who was with us when we took that decision  we were avoiding unnecessary clashes. I remember that at that time somebody had already died and livestock had been killed.
 
And as the Minister has stated, we marked out a small portion because we did not have money to compensate everybody. What we did was to decide to meet those people and negotiate with them  we do not carry Government money in our bags to give it out to people. I know that the committee is working on this issue (Interjections) yes, surely much of the work has been done (Interruption)
 
MR KIBANZANGA: Mr Speaker, this matter is now over two years old. We are condensing the snails speed that you are using to resolve this matter. You are holding up peoples pieces of land with titles idle and unused. Up to now many people do not know at what stage you are in resolving this conflict.
 
Mr Speaker and hon. Members, is the Minister who is also my friend in order to come and tell us that Government is working on it, without telling us at what stage they are in resolving this matter?
 
THE SPEAKER: No, I think this is not an issue for a point of order. As I said, can you indicate to us how soon this matter is going to be solved? That will comfort the Members from that area. Is it two or three months? That kind of thing! We are not saying tomorrow, but a reasonable time.
 
MR RWAMIRAMA: Mr Speaker, we have met with the land and Bibanja owners  (Interjections) yes, because you are not one of them. And I would like to inform hon. colleagues that these people are in the final stages of agreeing with the technical team handling this matter. This matter has to go to the government valuer; we have to look at the titles and to the best of my knowledge there are only two people with land titles over that piece of land of 1500 acres. The rest of the titles are for land outside that land. All other economic activities are going on.
 
I also would like to inform this House that the situation there is peaceful; there are no more clashes. Therefore, we should be patient a little for maybe one month (Interjections)  yes, we would rather go to court than have people die.
 
THE SPEAKER: So, you are talking of one month?
 
MR RWAMIRAMA: Yes, one month.
 
THE SPEAKER: Okay, let us have hon. Nayiga.
 
MR RWAMIRAMA: Mr Speaker, I need your protection because 
 
THE SPEAKER: No, but if you are asking for one month, can we then say within two months?
 
MR RWAMIRAMA: While I sit on the committee  our work will be easy  I would like to get it from the Prime Minister or the Minister of Finance. Otherwise (Interruption)
 
MR KIVEJINJA: In giving the time as to when this can be done. I need to inform the House that our people have been killing each other and destroying each others property. Therefore, it is not a process that you can switch off and on. That is why we have been very careful to ensure the tempers cool to allow us take a decision that will effectively harmonise the situation. But like I have told you, we have already got the owner who has the title to that land; we are negotiating 
 
THE SPEAKER: No, I think what we need is the estimation of time. Can you estimate because you should know the problem?
 
MR KIVEJINJA: Although this is the last part of the financial year, I think we will reach agreement within one month. And if there is no agreement reached, I will come back to explain that.
 
THE SPEAKER: Okay, agreed. Yes, hon. Nayiga.
 
MS SEKABIRA: Mr Speaker, I stand mainly because I am the National Chairperson of People with Disabilities in the NRM league. I have heard from some disabled people from Kasese who are refereed to as the Banyabindi  the Minister is talking about the Basongora and the Bakonzo, but do these people exist or not.
 
I am asking this because they also say that they are also landless  the situation is affecting the disabled; they are now saying they are being marginalised. What I would like to know is whether those steps are also addressing the issue of the Banyabindi and all the other groups. Do they exist anyway? Thank you.
 
THE SPEAKER: I thought the categorising here depends on the activity of the farmers and the pastoralists; I think that is the category. The Banyabindi could be farmers or what?
 
MR RWAMIRAMA: Mr Speaker, I would like to say that the Banyabindi do exist; they are one of the indigenous communities. They are categorised as cultivators. I would like to report that we have found a solution to their problem. They are among the people that the Inter-Ministerial Committee is settling.
 
Anyway, the question was specifically when will this land be unlocked? My senior colleague has ably explained how far we have gone. He has also told you that in a months time we shall have reached a settlement; we shall inform the House accordingly.
 
THE SPEAKER: We shall revisit this subject in a months time to get the update.
 
MR KIBANZANGA: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I would like to say that there is an element of those people that you settled on Government land like the prisons and the forest reserves. I would like to know how far you have gone with changing the land use so that people can be able to apply for land titles. How far?
 
THE SPEAKER: Yes, hon. Member for Mawookota North.
 
MR MUTULUZA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. During the Seventh Parliament I happened to be a Member of the Committee of Trade Tourism and we moved to almost all these parts of Uganda where there are national parks and national reserves.
 
So, as far as Queen Elizabeth National Park is concerned, and this part which is going to be cut off from the National Park which is just 15,000 acres, I just wanted to know from the minister, how big Queen Elizabeth National Park is so that we consider increasing the number of acreage to these people who are suffering.
 
When you go to areas like Bunyoro, all the fertile land is owned by animals and people are just languishing. They have nowhere to settle and nowhere to grow their crops. So, I think Government should consider de-gazetting some of these areas because some of our people there are suffering. I thank you.
 
MAJ. RWAMIRAMA: Mr Speaker, in response to hon. Kibanzangas question, it is true that the land that Government has availed as an alternative in order for these people to leave the national park is very small. We have accordingly told them to sell their animals. They are in groups because we cannot divide it. It cannot fit them.
 
What we have decided is to encourage them to do commercial farming, mixed farming and retain small herds of cows. The recent information I got from the RDC of Kasese and our technical team is that they have sold off much of their herds and they are learning to live small.
 
As for the hon. Member who was on the Committee of Tourism, I do not think we have reached the stage where we have to de-gazette a national park for people to settle. Tourism is also another industry.
 
I think this has to come on its own as a policy. It could be generated from Parliament but to the best of my knowledge the 1,577.5 acres is the one that we are getting from that portion of land which was also de-gazetted to reduce pressure on the park. I think-
 
THE SPEAKER: Let us revisit this matter on or about the 15th of next month. Let us move on to the next item.
 
4.32
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS) (Mr Okello Oryem): Mr Speaker and hon. Members, an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter Scale struck the medieval city of LAquila located in the central region of Italy on 6 April 2009.
 
The earthquake followed a series of about 100 minor tremors since January 2009 including one major one that occurred on 30 March 2009.
 
The earthquake occurred at 0132 GMT at a relatively shallow depth of 10 km, approximately 90 km north east of Rome, at the village of Paganica, near the city of LAquila.
 
As of this morning, reports received at our embassy in Rome say that the earthquake caused tremendous damage to human lives and property. So far, 300 have died, 300 people have been injured and 25,000 people have been made homeless, of which 10,000 are being temporarily housed in hotels and on the areas near the seashore. Seventy thousand people have been displaced in LAquila and surrounding areas. Up to 11,000 buildings have been destroyed.
 
Italy frequently experiences earthquakes but it is uncommon for them to be very deadly. The last earthquake was the 2002 4.9 magnitude Molise earthquake which killed more than 25 people. It was the deadliest in 20 years.
 
Earthquakes mark the history of LAquila, a city built on the bed of an ancient lake providing the sole structure that amplified seismic waves. The city was struck by earthquakes in 1315, 1349, 1452, 1646, 1703 and 1706. The earthquake of February 1703 which caused devastation across much of Central Italy largely destroyed the city and killed around 5,000 people.
 
The Government of Uganda has already sent a letter of condolence to the Government and people of Italy.
 
Once more, I wish, on behalf of Government and the people of Uganda, to convey our heartfelt condolences to the Italian people, to the people of Italy and especially to the families and victims of this tragic event. We share your grief and hurt at this sad moment.
Through you, Mr Speaker, may I request this august House to rise up and observe a minute of silence in commemoration of the victims of this devastating earthquake?
 
THE SPEAKER: Ok.
 
(Members stood and observed a moment of silence.)
 
THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much for the statement.
 
MOTION FOR CONSIDERATION AND ADOPTION OF
THE REPORT OF THE PUCBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE ON THE
REPORT OF THE AUDITOR-GENERAL FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30TH JUNE 2002.
 
THE SPEAKER: I think we have already debated this report. So, is it to pronounce ourselves on the report? Chairperson? She is not there? But we had the debate, didnt we? So then I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
(Report adopted.)
 
 
4.38
MR ABDU KATUNTU (FDC, Bugweri County, Iganga): Mr Speaker, can I have the opportunity to lay this report on Table now that I have it?
 
THE SPEAKER: Ok.
 
MR KATUNTU: Mr Speaker, I beg to lay on Table, the annual report of the Auditor-General for the financial year ended 30th June 2002 on local authorities. I beg to lay.
 
THE SPEAKER: Let the appropriate committee take up the report, study it and expeditiously report to the House.
 
Hon. Members, I have received communication from the Government Chief Whip. In the Cabinet reshuffle of February 2009, the following were appointed ministers of state. This created vacant positions on both standing and sessional committees. The honourable members who are to leave the committees are: hon. Asuman Kiyingi, hon. Simon Lokodo, hon. Aggrey Bagiire, hon. James Kakooza, hon. Jessica Alupo, hon. Janet Museveni and hon. Perez Ahabwe.
 
In accordance with Rules 134 and 160 of our Rules of Procedure of Parliament, the NRM party therefore designates the following to fill the vacant positions. Standing committees, hon. Peter Nyombi Chairperson, Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline. I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
THE SPEAKER: Hon. Silver Bahane, Vice Chairperson, Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline. I put the question.
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
THE SPEAKER: Hon. Medi Mulumba, Vice Chairperson, Committee on Budget. I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
THE SPEAKER: Sessional committees, Hon. Grace Isingoma Byarugaba, Physical Infrastructure. I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
THE SPEAKER: Hon. Robert Kasule Sebunya, Finance, Planning and Economic Development. I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
THE SPEAKER: There is another name but I decline to read it. This communiqué further reads, Meantime, we are trying to ensure that all vacant positions are filled and at the same time addressing the issue of attendance. I have declined to read the name because of non-attendance of Parliament.
 
4.41
MR ODONGA OTTO (FDC, Aruu County, Pader): Mr Speaker, with all due respect to the latest communication that you have made, our Rules of Procedure are clear on the implication of non attendance to parliamentary meetings. I think it would be proper to seek your indulgence that-
 
THE SPEAKER: The guidance is that today I was announcing members of the committees. When it comes to non attendance of Parliament, we shall do the needful.
 
MR ODONGA OTTO: Most obliged, Mr Speaker.
 
4.42
MR NATHAN NANDALA-MAFABI (FDC, Budadiri County West, Sironko): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker -
 
THE SPEAKER: Before you go ahead, there was an assignment that I gave you and I have not received a report from you. Maybe to save you, I will not announce the assignment.
 
MR NANDALA-MAFABI: Mr Speaker, I am sure you know that I am very attentive and I always attend. The assignment you gave me is going on well and you will definitely get the report before you go home today.
 
Mr Speaker, I want to thank members for having adopted the report of the Auditor-General of PAC ending 30 June 2002. I want to seek indulgence from members and say that the Auditor-Generals report is a good document for you when you are dealing with your budget statements.
 
In fact as we analyse the budget, I call on members to get the Auditor-Generals report that we have just laid on the Table for 2007/2008. It will tell you what happens in your particular ministries as they try to do their work.
 
Otherwise, Mr Speaker, I want to thank you and I look forward to the remaining reports being adopted by the end of this week. I thank you.
 
4.42
MR ABDU KATUNTU (FDC, Bugweri County, Iganga): Mr Speaker, I would like to ask the Government Chief Whip, hon. Ahabwe, one of my committee members, was appointed a minister but I have not heard a replacement to the Committee on Local Government Authorities.
 
4.43
THE GOVERNMENT CHIEF WHIP (Mr Daudi Migereko): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. When I was communicating the designations, I clearly indicated that very soon we shall announce the other replacements because we are still carrying out consultations within our party as we normally do. I thank you.
 
MR KATUNTU: Mr Speaker, you see chairpersons of committees are having a problem of quorum so we really need these members such that we can conduct business. We are just pleading that we get all our Members to the committee and we mobilise them to conduct business.
 
THE SPEAKER: I have also heard reports of lack of quorum and as I said, the Business Committee advised the Rules Committee on this. Now that we have a Chairman of the Rules Committee and a vice chairperson, I think you should seriously look into the attendance of members to these committees. It is causing a lot of problems but we should review our rules so that we can get the right medicine to cure the ailment.
 
With this, we have come to the end of todays business. House is adjourned until tomorrow at 2.00 p.m.
 
(The House rose at 4.44 p.m. and adjourned until Thursday, 16 April 2009 at 2.00 p.m.)
 

 


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