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Wednesday, 29 April 2009
Parliament met at 2.35 p.m. in Parliament House, Kampala.
(The Deputy Speaker, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, in the Chair.)
The House was called to order.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I welcome you to todays meeting. First, I will amend the Order Paper to make room for the Minister for Regional Cooperation to make a statement; so he will come immediately after the Minister for Energy.
I have a few other communications. One, we have a number of guests in the distinguished strangers gallery. We have, Ms Kimberly Smeldy, Senior Research Associate of the University of Cape Town. She is visiting Parliament as a USAID consultant and is on an evaluation mission.
We also have pupils and teachers of Apac Model Primary School. They have come to see how we conduct business here.
We also have a team of elders from two communities of our country. We have a delegation from the Sabiny community, a delegation from the Pokot community and a delegation from the REACH Programme; they are here to witness the moving of a motion which is important to their community. When we come to that stage, I will give you the details of their names.
But I also wanted to talk about an issue, which was raised here concerning questions for oral answer. I have received many complaints concerning questions and how they are processed and the Government Chief Whip did write to me indicating that they believe the faults are on the part of Parliament. I have consulted with the Clerk and I have noticed that Members may not be aware of the process through which questions go before they are reflected on the Order Paper.
So, I want to inform the members that there is established in the Clerks Office a question records book provided for under rule 35(7). It is kept by the Assistant Director in charge of the Table Office in room 408 of Parliament Building and this is the process the questions go through:
When a question is received, the approval of the Speaker is sought. If that approval is given, the question is sent to the minister with copies to the Leader of Government Business and the Permanent Secretary of the relevant ministry. A copy is also sent to the registry for record purposes.
In the letter, the minister is requested to answer the question within two weeks upon receipt of the question. The minister is further requested to file with the Clerk a copy of his/her response for record purposes, under rule 35(7)(d) of our Rules of Procedure. All this information is indicated in the question record book, which is open for Members inspections any time.
I have established that it is the ministers who have not been complying with the rules regarding questions. This has resulted in a backlog of questions. So I urge the ministers to take matters of question seriously and also ensure that questions appear on the Order Paper on schedule.
I now want to ask the Clerk to show you the question record book so that you know that what we have been talking about is for real. All the questions are recorded there, including when they are expected to be answered.
THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION (Prof. Morris Ogenga-Latigo): Thank you, Madam Speaker. You mentioned a procedure that I did not seem familiar with. I do not know whether I have not read my rules properly, but in submitting questions, you mentioned that the approval of the Speaker is required. Is that part of our procedure or not?
My understanding was that the Clerk would look at your question and help you in restructuring it if it is not clear enough.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, you may not know that sometimes Members ask questions first by writing a preamble of three pages and then they ask the question. Then you find the question is actually about four pages. So the Speakers Office is also the Clerks Office. That is the process through which we clear them and say, Cut this, remove this and so forth.
PROF. OGENGA-LATIGO: Madam Speaker, I do not what anybody from either side of the House to say that the Speaker sabotaged my question. Can we have more clarification of that? You said that the Office of the Speaker is also the Clerks office. But in this business, it is normally the Clerk that deals with the person concerned.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Leader of the Opposition, you do not know the problems we go through with Members questions. First of all, when the clerks try to guide them they insist that, This is my question and this is how I want it to be set. And the clerks usually are afraid to argue with them.
PROF. OGENGA-LATIGO: We have tried to help the process. From our side, for example, no Member should submit questions without consultations with the Oppositions Chief Whip or the Leader of the Opposition. They normally give you a draft of the question and you look through it, and you advise that it is okay for submission. It is not that I do not trust the Office of the Speaker, but I do not what somebody later to accuse the Office of the Speaker of sabotage.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: If you open that book, you will see a record of all the questions that have been asked. So you are free to inspect them. If you find something is missing, then you can ask me; but everything is there.
THE PRIME MINISTER AND LEADER OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS (Prof. Apolo Nsibambi): Madam Speaker, hon. Members of Parliament, my statement is being distributed. It is a short one but it is pregnant with a lot of thought. (Laughter)
Government was requested by Parliament to clarify on the status of Inspector-General of Government and the Deputy Inspector-General of Government, following the end of their contracts.
This is to inform hon. Members of Parliament that His Excellency the President has reappointed Mr Raphael Baku who was vetted by Parliament as Deputy Inspector-General of Government. He has also asked Mr Baku to take charge of the Inspectorate of Government.
In respect of Justice Mwondhas re-appointment as Inspector-General of Government, the issue has been referred to the Constitutional Court by interested parties.
The issue of contention is whether or not a person who have been serving as Inspector-General of Government and who is eligible for re-appointment requires vetting by Parliament.
Government is waiting for the interpretation of the Constitutional Court. The President was reminded to nominate for appointment a second Deputy Inspector-General of Government as provided by Section 3, clause 2(b) of the Inspector-General Of Government Act, 2002. Thank you.
MR ERIAS LUKWAGO (DP, Kampala Central, Kampala): Madam Speaker, I thank the Prime Minister for the statement he has made. But I would wish to seek clarification of salient issues.
One, the question of the matter being referred to the Constitutional Court by interested parties sounds a little bit vague. What does, interested parties mean? Does that include government, would it mean the former Inspector-General of Government; does it mean the Attorney-General? So we need to understand, and there are no particulars of the case here.
To make matters worse, the statement says, Government is awaiting the decision of the Constitutional Court on this matter. It clears some vacuum as far as the Inspectorate is concerned. Under the provisions of Article 223 of the Constitution, the Constitution talks of the Inspector-General of Government not Acting Inspector General of Government. The Constitution does not envisage any person in acting capacity to serve as Inspector-General of Government.
The position is clear, Raphael Bako was appointed as Deputy Inspector-General of Government and the Constitution provides for two deputies. So he is going to serve as such. So the question arising is: do we now have a vacuum  is there no substantive Inspector-General of Government?
Secondly, the particulars of this case  why peg the decision of the chief executive to a constitutional decision? I thought the chief executive would take a decision and whoever is not satisfied would take him to court!
Finally, has government now abandoned the advice of the Attorney-General on the matter?
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, last week it was this House which asked government to explain what is going on in that office. The person who was approved by Parliament is the one in office. The one who was not approved is not in office. I do not know what the problem is now!
MR ODONGA OTTO (FDC, Aruu County, Pader): Madam Speaker, I wanted to direct my mind to my learned friend the Attorney-General, probably he would be of help. The Constitution is clear on what constitutes the Inspectorate of Government. It includes the Inspector-General of Government and any number of deputies. So, where we are, hon. Attorney-General, do we have a lacuna? Because we approved the Deputy Inspector-General of Government as Deputy Inspector-General of Government, how then does that person become the Inspector-General of Government?
I want the learned Attorney-General to advise this House because to me it seems that the Inspectorate of Government is not fully composed. And as Parliament, we have no one to meet. We cannot meet the acting Inspector-General of Government; there is no provision for that in the Constitution. So I really want the Attorney-General to make this clear. For me as a Member of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, when I am expecting to meet the Inspectorate of Government, I should not instead meet the acting Inspector-General of Government which is unconstitutional.
MR FELIX OKOT OGONG (NRM, Dokolo County, Dokolo): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I want to refer Members to the Constitution, Article 119(1) on the Attorney-General, which reads, There shall be an Attorney-General who shall be a Cabinet Minister appointed by the President with the approval of Parliament.
(2) The Attorney-General shall be the principal legal adviser of government.
The functions of the Attorney-General are clearly spelt out in the Constitution: his function is to give legal advice and services to government on any subject.
Last week the Attorney-General appeared in Parliament here and informed us in no uncertain terms that he had advised government and made his position clear on the appointment of the Inspector-General of Government and it seems government has blatantly rejected the advice of the Attorney-General.
The President appointed the Attorney-General with his own seal to be his legal advisor and now he has disowned his advice. So, do we still have an Attorney-General? That must be made clear; we are not going to respect the advice of the Attorney-General in Parliament because his advice is now just being take as mere advice.
I want also to request the Attorney-General, since his boss has given him a vote of no confidence, this is very clear. I think the best thing he can do is to resign. You cannot serve a system that does not respect your advice. We are going to rule by this Constitution, which is very clear. I want the Prime Minister to advise us on this whether we still have an Attorney-General and whether we can still rely on his advise. Thank you.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I did not read in the Prime Minsters statement any indication that the advice of the Attorney-General had been ignored. The person who was vetted by this House as advised by the Attorney-General is in office. The person who was not vetted is not in office. So, I do not know what your problem is.
On behalf of the Appointments Committee, I can inform you that we have advised that the office should be fully constituted and they have been operating without it. So we have taken charge of the situation.
MR KIGYAGI: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I would like to get guidance from you or the Attorney-General. Government has been taken to the Constitutional Court, but who is going to represent Government in the Constitutional Court?
MR OKECHO: Madam Speaker, it is provided that the Attorney-General advises the President, but does the President have to take all the advice that the Attorney-General gives him?
MR ABDU KATUNTU (FDC, Bugweri Country, Iganga): Thank you, Madam Speaker. It is quite unfortunate that this country is being treated to this melodrama for this long. In circumstances where you have constitutional commands; all authority in this country, from the President to this Parliament is bound by the advice of the Attorney-General; just bound. For the appointing authority to cast doubt on the advice of his principal legal advisor is extremely unfortunate. It amounts to a vote of no confidence in the Attorney-General.
We as an institution have been faced with a dilemma where we have received the advice of the Attorney-General, regardless of what opinion we had, we have been bound by the advice of the Attorney-General because we respect the rule of law, we respect the Constitution and we respect the Office of the Attorney-General.
The President is selectively getting advice from institutions that are by law supposed to advise him. It puts the person of the Attorney-General in a big dilemma; in fact I would not like to be in his shoes. If the President doubts the advice of the Attorney-General, can this House ever have faith in the opinion of the Attorney-General? We cannot continue being treated to this sort of drama. The President should know that he is bound by the law; he has no discretion in this matter; if he thinks the advice was wrong, he has one option, to tell the present Attorney-General that, I no longer have faith in your legal advice.
The Constitution provides for the Inspectorate of Government to be constituted by both the Inspector-General of Government and the deputy. If one of them is not there, you cannot talk about the Inspectorate of Government. And that is where I have a problem with the Attorney-General; how do you act on an institution which does not exist in the law? There is no inspectorate until both the Inspector-General of Government and the Deputy Inspector-General of Government are in place as envisaged by the Constitution.
Mr Raphael Bako is a substantive Deputy Inspector-General of Government; that is, assuming he has received the instrument of appointment. But from the media reports today, Mr Bako said he was on leave. So can we have this drama come to an end, Leader of Government Business? We have been praying since you told us to pray, two weeks ago. I am sure God is also getting impatient with our prayers. Now that we have been praying to God and the drama is still going on, what do we do? We continue praying?
This week or the next, you will find Mr Raphael Baku coming here as the acting Inspector-General of Government, and some of us are going to be uncomfortable with that. Not that we do not respect Mr Raphael Bako as Deputy Inspector-General of Government, but we are saying that there is a problem in the institution. Why do you cause controversies in situations where there shouldnt be any; why should we have controversies in this country were we should not be having the slightest controversy?
Why doesnt the President go ahead to appoint an Inspector General of Government, approved by Parliament and the country continues; what is the problem Prof. Nsibambi? Is the problem the person of Mrs Faith Mwondha? That is the problem; this country is stuck with her, the President is stuck with her, so the institution will not work because of her. Really, institutions should be beyond individuals. This culture of saying, If this individual is not there, the institution will collapse, if this person is not there, the country will collapse; we cannot tolerate this anymore as a country. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Now, hon. Members, I will ask the Attorney-General to respond. However, in the visitors gallery we have students of the Royal Rhodes University of Canada. They are here to observe the achievements of the government and the country in the Millennium Development Goals.
Can I ask the Attorney-General to respond? Tayagala? Ok, Prime Minister, can you answer?
THE PRIME MINISTER AND LEADER OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS (Prof. Apolo Nsibambi): Thank you, Madam Speaker. What are these parties? I happen to know for example Bob Joseph Nturwabakye, Legal Brains Trust Ltd v the Attorney-General and I want to lay it on the Table.
The second question was that the Acting IGG is not envisaged. Now, this is a matter for the Attorney-General to answer and it is the same question which hon. Otto raised.
There was the issue  because I do not want the Attorney-General to be embarrassed, the issue was, can the President negate the advice of the Attorney-General? This is possible; there may be circumstances where he may not take the advice of the Attorney-General. It is possible.
With regard to this matter, the President would like to know the advice (Interruption)
MR KATUNTU: Thank you, Madam Speaker and I would like to thank the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister for yielding the Floor. I am seeking clarification. We have cited the Constitution, which gives the mandate of the Attorney-General as the principal legal advisor to government; that means to the President and all institutions of government. May I know, under what circumstances the President may, to use your word, negate the advice of the Attorney-General under the Constitution?
PROF OGENGA-LATIGO: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I thank the Rt Hon. Leader of Government Business for ceding this opportunity. Just two small clarifications: when the Attorney-General was asked to explain last week the issue of the legal advice - he could give other political advice that the President can take or not take, the Attorney-General cited a Supreme Court ruling and he laid it on Table where government is bound by his advice and he emphasised that the ruling of the Supreme Court is the supreme law of this land until there is another ruling to the contrary.
Are you, in making what you said, considerate of that position? And would you then, after you have made that statement, allow the Attorney-General to help us because we were quite satisfied with the matter that was laid?
Secondly, Rt Hon. Prime Minister, you laid on the Table the case of somebody and Legal Brains Ltd going to court. We have no opportunity to read the content of their petition before court but have they petitioned court seeking order of restraint on the President not to process the appointment of the Attorney-General until the matter is heard?
PROF. NSIBAMBI: According to Article 119, the functions of the Attorney-General include giving legal advice. If you think that the President has violated the Constitution, you can take him to court. You are free to take him to court.
There was another question: do we have an Attorney-General? Yes, because the Attorney-General has not resigned so we have an Attorney-General. I ask the Attorney-General to answer other questions. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS/ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Prof. Khiddu Makubuya): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I was not here last week but my colleague, the Deputy Attorney-General, came to Parliament and indicated the legal position as we understood it in the Attorney-Generals Chamber. (Laughter) And we have not been given any reason to depart from that position.
I have only two points to clarify that there are two petitions and not one. The first petition is exactly what the Rt Hon. Prime Minister has mentioned: Constitutional Petition No.07 of 2009, Bob Joseph Nturwabakye and Legal Brains Trust Ltd. They are the petitioners and they are clearly petitioning against the Attorney-General of the Republic of Uganda. The first petitioner is a private person and the second one is a company.
Then we have constitutional petition No.10 of 2009. The petitioners are 22 and they are:
1.  Dhikusooka Majidu
2.  Sheila Kawamara Mishambi
3.  Talifuna Edward
4.  Musulo Musoke Charles
5.  Mbentyo Isa
6.  Waiswa Paul Isingoma
7.  Gladys Nyakajua
8.  Tuhumwire Dorothy Mbalule
9.  Babirye Mebrah
10.  Samanya Godfrey
11.  Zirabamuzaale Sunday
12.  Kakaire Ronald
13.  Haluna Ntuyo Tamuzadde
14.  Gabula Ezra
15.  Diogo Samuel
16.  Kakaire Lovisa
17.  Kalekwa Mary
18.  Musenze Daudi Isabirye
19.  Mutenza Ronald Bagole
20.  Dhikusooka Timothy
21.  Mukooba Christopher
22.  Achieng Robinah Kazahura
This petition is also against the Attorney-General of the Republic of Uganda.
The second thing is what is being raised. I think the sentence says, He has also asked Mr Bako to take charge of the Inspectorate of Government. And of course the argument is on the full constitution of the Inspectorate of Government. I was hearing of this issue for the first time. I would like to ask for time to analyse the issue so that I can be able to advice Parliament on this. Thank you.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Okay. Next item!
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR LABOUR (Dr Emmanuel Otaala): Thank you very much, Madam Speaker and hon. Members. This is a statement in respect of the International Labour Day to be marked on 01 May 2009 -(Interjection)- we have delivered 400 copies to the Office of the Clerk and it is being availed to the Members.
MR ODONGA OTTO: Madam Speaker, with all due respect to hon. Dr Otaala and since Labour Day is a very important day for people like me, and in line with our Rules of Procedure, I would pray and seek procedural advice that we stay over his statement until we have the copies because our rules are very clear.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: But what is the import of the statement? Is it a policy or just information? This is just information.
DR OTAALA: Thank you, Madam Speaker, for your ruling. On the 1st of May every year, Uganda joins the rest of the world to commemorate the International Labour Day that has been set aside for the workers in the world.
This day dates back to the period between 1882 and 1884, when the Knights of labour from New York City in the USA propelled parades from sociologists who were at that time demanding for the recognition of Labour Day. The parades were violent and marked by loss of lives. Persistent labour unionists continued the agitation for improved working conditions to counter the bonding and poor working conditions that was being meted on the workers at that time.
In Uganda, the International Labour Day is gazetted as a public holiday and ceremonies are organised at national level as well as within local governments.
Hon. Members, this day is commemorated in recognition of the dignity of labour and the important contribution that labour makes to the socio-economic and political development of our country.
It is a day when government, employers, the workers and the unions, community groups, civil society organisations and the public reflect on the achievements and challenges of work and socio-economic development.
The importance of employment and labour are anchored in the national Constitution and espoused in the NRM Presidential Manifesto of 2006.
The NRM Government has been implementing economic reforms mainly at macro and central level aimed at achieving economic growth of at least 6.5 percent per year and placing emphasis on the private sector as the driver of economic growth and employment creation.
Madam Speaker and hon. Members, efforts to promote private investment under the Uganda Investment Authority have over the last decade created over 350,000 jobs. Government is also implementing a comprehensive programme on Prosperity-of-All commonly known as Bonna Bagaggawale within the objective of raising standards of living and incomes of households to a minimum of Shs 20 million per year. However, the challenges of employment creation, particularly good quality and sustainable incomes still remain formidable.
This year, the theme for the Labour Day celebrations is, Promoting local investment for increased employment creation. The theme has been chosen to emphasise the importance of promoting local investments to fight the rampant unemployment. Over 7 million people in Uganda are still unemployed and are earning less than US $1 per day. This poses a great challenge to our nation.
Hon. Members, the venue for this years national celebration is Soroti sports ground.
A synopsis on the day has been sent to all local governments to guide them on the commemoration of the day with activities reflecting the theme in their respective districts.
In order to prepare for the events to commemorate this day, the national organising committee has been constituted, chaired by my ministry. Soroti District has also constituted a district organising committee to oversee the preparations for that day within the district.
In this regard, all actors in various sectors, including the district political leadership, the media, the private sector, are expected to participate in the preparations to ensure that this years International Labour Day is memorable.
I, therefore, call upon you, the hon. Members, to show solidarity with the other workers of Uganda and join the rest to observe International Labour Day at Soroti sports ground, and also to support your constituencies to commemorate this important day.
Finally, the guest of honour at this occasion is expected to be His Excellency the President. I thank you. I say all this for God and my country.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: We are not supposed to debate this. I think let us just hear from the hosts. Yes; hon. Amuriat.
MR PATRICK AMURIAT (FDC, Kumi County, Kumi): Thank you very much, Madam Speaker and I wish to thank -
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Alaso is the host. Let us hear from hon. Alaso first.
MS ALICE ALASO (FDC, Woman Representative, Soroti): Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, I am honoured to be the host as you come to Soroti District and I want to thank the minister and government for choosing Soroti as the venue for this years celebration. So, to all of you, we say, you are most welcome to Soroti. You will enjoy a lot of fish; a lot of chicken; a lot of Atapa; we will make sure you are very comfortable when you come to Soroti. I am also being asked for Ajono. Ajono is the local brew and I know that it will be there anyway.
Madam Speaker, for us in Soroti it is such an honour indeed to host this function but I would like to point out a few things to the minister even as I tell all the workers of this country and indeed all of Soroti to turn up for this function.
For a long time we have asked government to provide for a minimum wage for working Ugandans and it is quite unpleasant to note that you still go to all these industries, where you say you have created 350,000 jobs, and you find Ugandans being seriously exploited; there are people who work for Shs 60,000 for a whole month and yet you work the whole day from 6 a.m. to probably 8 p.m.
I have a strong feeling that a lot of Ugandans are being exploited by these so-called investors and that applies to the security firms in this country where a bulk of our people earn only Shs 90,000 per month.
While we need investments, while we need these jobs, I think it is the duty of the Government of Uganda to protect Ugandans from being massively exploited and I would like to call on government to reconsider matters of the minimum wage for Ugandans if we are to benefit at all from the jobs that are being created.
Secondly, it is important that we reflect on the level of unemployment in this country. Most of our youth have become idle and sometimes even disorderly basically because they have no work to do. They have no jobs; there is no land for some of them and it has been very difficult for them to cope. So I pray that government considers some of these things: the creation jobs, the creation of a good working environment and the fixing of a minimum wage to help our people to feel worth it. There should be some bit of human dignity even as you work in these 350,000 jobs that are being created. Otherwise, welcome again to Soroti.
MR CHARLES EKEMU (FDC, Soroti Municipality, Soroti): Thank you very much. I am taking this opportunity to welcome all of you to Soroti where we are going to celebrate Labour Day. But of course, hon. Minister, I am already aware that Soroti is a suitable venue for this occasion. You are going to be welcomed by a drove of unemployed youth. They are going to be so many. So, you are really welcome and be prepared to be received. (Laughter)
MS BETI KAMYA (FDC, Lubaga Division North, Kampala): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I also wish to thank the minister for his statement and our hosts for giving us that welcome. We all look forward to being in Soroti on 01 May 2009.
I note this years theme: Promoting Local Investment. I would like to ask the minister what last years theme was; what the theme the year before was and what the theme the year before was. That is because we come here every year and celebrate anniversaries, each year with a different theme, without reflecting on the theme of the past year. It would be a good thing if we came here and reflected on the theme of the previous year because that gives us an opportunity - I expect that themes are supposed to give us the drive or the direction of where we want to go that year.
I think we have a problem in this country, of jumping from year to year, celebrating and not looking back. I would like to know from the minister how far we went in driving last years theme.
Secondly and lastly, traditionally in this country, we celebrate anniversaries, with a lot of fan fair, with match pasts and these days with party colours and harps and songs of patriotism. But in the 1960s - we have been told how long we have been celebrating Labour Day - but in the 60s - I am more interested in the days of Independence, when we were independent, 80 percent of our population we are told was engaged in agriculture, and that sector was contributing 80 percent to GDP.
In the 1990s, 80 percent was still stuck in agriculture and that sector contributing 40 per cent to GDP. Last year, according to the Minister of Finance 80 percent of our population was still stuck in agriculture and that sector contributed 21 percent of GDP. What are we celebrating?
To me, this means that either unemployment has gone down by 60 percent since 1960, or productivity has gone down by 60 percent. What are we celebrating? What are we commemorating? How are we moving to promotion of local investment without looking back at the themes that led to this downfall in the productivity and therefore economic advancement  80 percent of our population? What this means is that while 20 percent of our population at the rate of 8.9 percent, 80 percent of the population is actually going down. What are we celebrating? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I did not expect the minister to be so lengthy in his explanation. I thought he was telling you about the date and the theme, but he went into areas, which are now causing a debate. Normally we do not really debate this kind of information. So, let me ask hon. Alisemera to ask a few questions, the Member for Youth, hon. Lumumba and then hon. Amuriat.
MS JANE ALISEMERA (NRM, Woman Representative, Bundibugyo): Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Let me also thank the minister for giving us this statement. I would also like to be with the people of Soroti to say that really it is good for you to go and celebrate in Soroti and since some of these areas do not normally get such big celebrations or international days, it is also a gesture to the people of Soroti to have such visitors.
Hon. Minister as we celebrate the international Labour Day, the people of Bundibugyo are crying. They are crying for the loss of their dear ones, those who died during Ebola, the children of those health workers have dropped out of school. Imagine a doctors child not going to school and yet we are talking of patriotism! Who is more patriotic in this country than Rose Bulimpitsya the matron of Bundibugyo hospital? And we are talking of giving money to start patriotic activities, yet these children are dropping out of school! Do you think the people of Bundibugyo will appreciate you? Will they appreciate patriotic lessons when many of their children are suffering?
Hon. Minister, the people of Bundibugyo on the Labour Day, in fact Mrs Kule wants to match here and come and bring her children in front of Parliament, to show you that she is really disgusted and not happy with what is going on. I have been going to Ministry of Health, they tell me to go to Public Service; you go to Public Service, they say, Go to Ministry of Gender. Where are these children supposed to go; can we know, as we celebrate International Labour Day?
MR DENIS OBUA (NRM, Youth Representative, Northern): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I want to thank you and thank the minister for the statement. International Labour Day is a day on which as workers we should evaluate ourselves. It is a day that we as workers should celebrate the economic and social achievements. But I want to restrict my submission to the challenges that workers in Uganda are facing. No. 1 on the list is the challenge of enforcing labour laws that we have in this country.
Many have talked - even before I joined Parliament - about the question of the minimum wage for workers. I think we have reached a deadlock.  
Challenge No. 2, we do not have as a country the national employment policy that should guide us on the question of employment for our young graduates. That is also a challenge.
No. 3, the unemployment rate is still very high in this country and amongst young people who are graduating from higher institutions of learning. This is something we need to handle. If it means the question of reducing the retirement age, Parliament must do it.
There is the backlog of labour related cases in the Industrial Court. I am aware there are over 300 pending cases in the Industrial Court. The Industrial Court at the moment does not have a presiding judge and we are celebrating the International Labour Day. What are we celebrating? I thank you.
MRS KASULE LUMUMBA (NRM, Woman Representative, Bugiri): Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I have some few questions to the minister. One, he has made a statement, brief as it is to the nation but he knows very well that Members of Parliament are going out there to preside over as guests of honour but he has not given a statement - where do you expect these Members to get this statement from? Do you want them to have the same message? If it is the same, then where do you want them to access the information from?
Secondly, we are going to celebrate, he has talked of so many years of commemoration of the day. But as we talk now, do we have an employment policy in this country? He has talked of the theme being to boost local investment. He ought to have told us what government has done so far to boost local investment and what government is planning to do; because that should be the message we carry when we go down.
My colleague talked of retirement: the minister should have told us how the ministry has tried to simplify the issue of the retirement packages for the people and how is it accessible - issues of gratuity. These are the issues that are affecting the workers. So if it is so difficult for somebody even to access pension, what are we going to celebrate about, to make things difficult for those who are retiring?
We have the issue of  yesterday we had a demonstration which was flagged off by you. He has not talked of anything about the demands that the workers raised yesterday. Madam Speaker, we have issues of taxation in this country, the labourers are complaining, workers are complaining about over taxation. We recently passed the Local Service Tax, workers are complaining. What has that ministry done? The safety of workers is a big problem in this country. People lost lives the other day, what does the ministry say about it? We have the issue of the Industrial Court. How is government facilitating the Industrial Court? Thank you very much.
MR BRUNO PAJOBO (NRM, Workers Representative): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I understand that the minister said we are celebrating. We are not celebrating; we are mourning our people. That is the essence of the Labour Day celebrations. The workers really resisted the bad conditions of working during that period when the workers complained of working hours and went on strike. So many workers were killed and now we are mourning those people.
In Uganda, what do we celebrate? What do we celebrate really; economic gain? (Laughter) The issue is that in the 1960s, in other countries of our neighbour, on Labour Day they come and consolidate the workers by giving them a minimum wage announcement. For us what are we going to hear: political statements? Patriotism which we cannot practice because we are hungry? How can you talk about patriotism when people are hungry?
Therefore, the workers in this country really need to be looked at. People are proud that we are producing work for Ugandans. What type of work are you giving to Ugandans? How many Ugandans are employed in Uganda and how many industries really take Ugandans? Yesterday, I went to one place and found strong Swahili, which is not my Swahili. Where do we get those people and really if Uganda is to produce for Ugandans, how (Interruption)
MRS TUUNDE: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I thank the minister for his statement but I would like to say that we as workers in Uganda we are not really celebrating, we are commemorating the lives of those brothers who died in Chicago in the 18th Century; they died because they were fighting for their rights.
In the actual sense yesterday the International Labour Organisation marked 90 years and Uganda being a member country of ILO has to ratify several conventions as far as workers rights are concerned. It has also domesticated so many labour laws to fit in the decent work agenda but what we are seeing is the missing gap. There is a leak, much as we talk of decent work, in Uganda there is a lot missing.
When you look at the workers, there is a lot of sexual harassment; there is no employment policy; there is no minimum wage and there are a lot of things missing. When we talk of an employment policy and we are talking of the East African Community, all the other countries have employment policies but it is only Uganda, which does not have one in place. For the minimum wage, even other countries have minimum wage but for Uganda there is nothing. (Laughter)
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Is that the information?
MRS TUUNDE: That is the information I wanted to give, otherwise we are not celebrating.
MR PAJOBO: Thank you my sister for that good information. I was also enumerating that in fact there is no cause for celebration or being happy as a working class in this country. Workers have been left behind and it is the employers and investors that should not be disturbed. If you ask for a minimum wage, you are disturbing them. If you ask for good conditions of service you are disturbing them. If you ask for working instruments, you are disturbing investors. So, investors take it all. Therefore, it is investors who are going to celebrate; we the workers are going to mourn -(Interruption)
DR BARYOMUNSI: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I just want to provide further information to the Member on the Floor and the entire House that actually the issue of payment of workers is a serious matter in this country. One of the professions, the health profession and I am sure the Minister of Health knows this issue, there is a severe complaint from doctors and other health workers  there is a petition, which has been brought to this House signed by the most senior doctors in this country and the complaint is that we are losing very many doctors and other health professionals to outside countries, including our neighbouring countries, because the pay is poor.
And, therefore, we should take the matter very seriously because there is a crisis within the health sector. When you talk to most health workers, there is a go-slow kind of strike because they are de-motivated and it is a matter which we must act on as Parliament and address it.
Thirdly in the coming budget there is no provision for enhancement of the salaries of doctors. I thank you very much.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Pajobo, please wind up.
MR PAJOBO: Thank you for this very important information. In fact one of the people who are badly hit are the doctors. In fact our people, the working class, it is time for government to look for a salary structure in this country. Today the salary structure -(Member timed out)
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, really this was not for debate. And we are going to debate the budget. You will have an opportunity to say all these things. Please, I have got four other statements.
MR PATRICK AMURIAT (FDC, Kumi County, Kumi): Thank you hon. Minister for the statement and we congratulate the workers of this country and workers internationally, upon commemorating the International Labour Day.
I have a few questions to ask the minister and also a form of clarification for the Rt Hon. Prime Minister. Scientists, year in year out, are moving out of this country. Other professionals are also doing the same. Hon. Baryomunsi has just cited a case here. We have an exodus of doctors from this country to the neighbouring countries, Rwanda to be specific.
I would like to ask Dr Otaala who is Minister of State for Labour why this is happening and secondly, what deliberate steps the Government of Uganda is taking to ensure that we are able to recover those professionals who have since left the country.
NGOs in this country play a very active role in the development of the country. In fact they fill up gaps where governments inadequacies are realised. As we commemorate the International Labour Day, we have got to appreciate the role of NGOs in creating employment for the citizens of this country. Unfortunately, there is an attempt by some government ministers to fight NGOs.
I have before me a letter that is written by a minister in government, to be specific, Hon. Musa Ecweru, who is the Minister of State for Relief and Disaster Preparedness; he wrote a letter to the Permanent Secretary to the Prime Ministers Office urging him to stop NUREP funding to a number of local NGOs in the Teso sub-region. The letter is here and I do not know whether it is necessary for me to read it but I will lay it on the Table after this. I am aware that the letter is copied to the Prime Minister himself, the Minister of State for Karamoja, the Minister of State for Northern Uganda and the Principal Private Secretary to the President urging the stopping of funding to those local NGOs in Teso and Karamoja and also citing that these people are anti-government and carrying out anti-government programmes in the region. I think this is not only serious but extremely annoying -(Interruption)
DR EPETAIT: Thank you, honourable colleague, for giving way. The information I have regarding the same letter is that NUREP has been supporting 16 NGOs some of which are local and others international, including Oxfam, IRC, AVSI and those NGOs in total employ over 30,000 people. As we speak now, in the Teso sub-region people are in total shock. In Amuria and Katakwi districts, this afternoon they had a meeting where some people burst into tears. I am afraid that on that day  you are most welcome to Soroti  but there will be some bit of mourning because we cannot afford to lose NUREP funds for Teso and Karamoja regions.
The anti-government activities that the minister is alluding to are not even specific and that is a total let down for the very region, which is in dire need of this support.
MR AMURIAT: Thank you for the information. I am extremely disappointed by this letter, which makes a number of recommendations, in actual sense seven recommendations including the suspension of a one Stephen Kluge, who is the leader of the team managing this programme in Teso and Karamoja and the blocking of accounts of these NGOs.
I believe government should not operate this way. Certainly when the Opposition comes to power one day, it will not operate this way. I would like a response from the Prime Minister and I urge him to put sanctions on this particular minister who seems to have gone out of hand. I thank you. I wish to lay this letter on the Table. It is dated 24 April 2009, addressed to the PS of the Office of the Prime Minister Kampala and reference is: Abuse of Government of Uganda/EU-NUREP funds. I beg to lay it on the Table.
THE PRIME MINISTER (Prof. Apolo Nsibambi): Thank you. First of all, I would like to know how hon. Amuriat got hold of that letter because it was confidential.
MR AMURIAT: This letter was posted in my pigeonhole. I found it there this morning and I want to inform the Prime Minister that a copy of this letter is being circulated in Amuria as we speak now and it is no longer confidential. It is actually hanging on the notice board of the government offices in Amuria. You should not even be surprised that I have it.
PROF. NSIBAMBI: Well, whoever is circulating this letter is extremely wrong. But let me say that this morning I met the head of the European Delegation and we have discussed this matter. We are sorting it out and I do not intend to say much about it. I am aware that this letter has caused problems and I am trying to resolve them. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR LABOUR (Dr Emmanuel Otaala): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I thank colleagues for their questions. I will be quite brief and at another opportune moment I will come here with a comprehensive statement regarding labour issues. But allow me to address the main issues that were raised.
Hon. Alaso talked about the minimum wage for Ugandans, exploitation of Ugandans and I would like to say that we are addressing these issues in the draft employment policy that we have. My ministry has now come up with a draft employment policy; we are enriching it with input from various stakeholders. And as you are aware, we are operating a liberalised economy in this country. Issues of minimum wage are a function of the economy. I would like the honourable members to recall those days when we used to line up for soap (Interjections)- not allowed. Madam Speaker, as I said, I should be allowed to answer only the questions that have been raised.
When finally, we improve on this economy as we are doing (Interruption)
MS ALASO: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Is the honourable minister in order to come to this Floor and make the same statement, reading word for word, like the one that was made to this House by his immediate predecessor  hon. Obbo, when we asked him a similar question? Actually this was the same statement made last year by hon. Rukutuna. Do you have a script from which you, ministers of labour, read from? Is he in order?
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I think that is consistency. (Laughter)
DR OTAALA: Thank you, Madam Speaker, for your wise ruling. But as I was saying, we are now somewhere; we have attained minimum recovery and now on the take off. I can assure you that with the improvement in our economy, the workers will get better pay.
The question that I would like to address is in regard to what our host, the MP for Soroti Municipality, asked. I would like to assure you the issue of youth unemployment is at the centre of the concerns that my ministry is addressing currently. For example, just two weeks ago, I was in Soroti meeting the youth on how to improve on the informal sector as an avenue of providing more employment opportunities. This is also one of the issues contained in our draft policy. I am hopeful that when the policy is completed, I will be able to share that information with you.
Hon. Beti Kamya wanted to know how we are creating employment opportunities. She also wanted to know what the theme for last years celebrations was. I would like to inform the House that the theme for last years celebrations was: Employment creation for Prosperity-for-All. I would like to add that we have gone a long way in implementing this policy. I am saying this because as you know, government is currently implementing the Prosperity-for-All policy.
I would like to say that I appreciate what each one of you has been doing in your respective constituencies in terms of focusing on agricultural production and commercial agriculture as ways of creating employment for our people.
Hon. Alisemera asked something about the Ebola victims. I would like to say that, yes, it is the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development that is responsible for compensating the families of the victims of the Ebola scourge. And I would like to say that we are currently in the process; we have for example received submissions from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Public Service towards the compensation of the families of the Ebola victims. I am hopeful that soon they will receive their packages.
I can recall that hon. Obua talked about the many challenges but I would like to inform him that we are addressing those challenges using our employment policy.
He also asked a question on when we will be operationalising the industrial court. But I would like to say that my ministry has written to the Chief Justice of Uganda, as an interim measure, to provide us a judge in order for us to tackle the 300 cases or so, which we now have as backlog.
However, as a long-term measure, we are addressing what has caused the delay. And I can report that there was a problem regarding the name that was to be given to the presiding judge. Although the previous law provided for the position of the President of the Industrial Court, the new law provides for the Chief Judge of the Industrial Court. This caused a misunderstanding among ministries, forcing the Ministry of Public Service to write to us. Anyway, we have now rectified that; we think that soon we should be able to have the Industrial Court in place.
There was a question from hon. Lumumba Justine on what the common message for this day is. I would like to say that we have sent out a common message to all the districts of Uganda. As I did say, a synopsis was forwarded to all the districts; we expect all of them to focus on that synopsis as the common message with the common theme in order to address and commemorate the Labour Day this year. Madam Speaker, it is difficult for me to begin reading the synopsis; it is a whole detail. But since I have already given you the theme for this years celebrations, allow me move to the issue of safety of workers.
I would like to say that we have put in place, various labour laws the Occupational and Health Act, No. 06 of 2006, the Union Act and so forth. All these laws are meant to protect the workers. For example, the Union Act particularly helps workers to create unions at all places of work. It also addresses the issue of collective bargaining for commensurate pay for the workers. What we are doing now is to discuss the issues of welfare for the workers.
I would like to inform hon. Pajobo that although I did say that we are going to commemorate this day, I would like to add that we have to celebrate because there are achievements, which we have got. As we commemorate this day, I would like to inform the House that we have made various strides that warrant celebrating.
Hon. Tuunde raised a question, but I would like to inform you and the House that indeed it is true that the International Labour Organisation marked its 90th Anniversary yesterday. However, I would like to inform the House that since 1963 when Uganda joined the ILO we have ratified 31 conventions and domesticated many including the six labour laws that were passed here in 2006 and some in 2004. So you can see that we have something to celebrate.
Finally, let me respond to what hon. Amuriat asked about the reason scientists are leaving the country. I would like to say that I have already stated that as a country, our policy on liberalisation includes the liberalisation of labour. One of the issues that the sociologists agitated for was bonding workers.
As per our policy we cannot bond Ugandan workers; they are free to go out of the country and source for better employment opportunities. In fact one of the Statutory Instrument is that on the externalisation of labour, which is fetching this country US $6.2 million every month, over and above any other foreign currency earner. Madam Speaker, I thank you.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, we are aware that we made those laws but I think what the Parliament expects to hear is the real measure for implementation and the funding to implement those laws. I think that is what is missing. So we hope to hear that in the budget.
Now I will ask Members to follow up the other issues in the general debate on the State of the Nation Address, and the Budget. So let us move on to the electricity now.
DR FRANCIS EPETAIT (FDC, Ngora County, Kumi): Madam Speaker, I have got a note which I have failed to understand and I am wondering whether it is intended to intimidate me. I am being asked why I am dancing in the forest when the lion is on a hunting spree somewhere. I just do not understand this kind of note. It is from my colleague hon. Akol Rose. So I am wondering what this kind of statement would mean. (Laughter)
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, you know we have poets in this House. I think she was just writing a poem. Proceed with the next item.
THE MINISTER FOR ENERGY AND MINERAL DEVELOPMENT (Mr Hillary Onek): Thank you, Madam Speaker. This is a statement to Parliament on the power supply to Arua and Nebbi Districts.
Madam Speaker, and hon. Members, I wish to take this opportunity to appraise you on the steps which government has taken to address the current electricity supply problems in the West Nile region, particularly Arua and Nebbi.
As background information, I wish to inform the House that electricity in Arua and Nebbi Districts is supplied by a private company, M/S West Nile Rural Electrification Company, WENRECO. It will be recalled that government took a policy decision to involve the private sector in the power generation and distribution business and the 1999 Electricity Act was passed by this House to operationalise that government policy.
Consequently, WENRECO was awarded a concession to generate and supply power to that region. In order to buy down the tariff and make electricity relatively affordable to the consumers, government granted a subsidy to the concessionaire, WENRECO, to the tune of US $8.25 million towards the construction of Nyagak small hydropower plant.
Government put US $6 million towards the heavy fuel plant which is the current generator and which has been supplying the region, US $600,000; and the distribution network, that is the electricity distribution lines to the region, US $1.65 million.
WENRECO is supposed to invest the US $6.6 million that government provided for the Nyagak Power Plant as follows:
US $3 million was given as equity by government to the company, and US $3.6 million was taken by the company as a loan but with government guarantee.
WENRECO took over the concession and started effective commercial operation of the heavy fuel oil power plant in 2005. There was steady supply until late last year when services started to go down. In the course of last month, WENRECO stopped supplying power altogether without informing government.
On the part of Nyagak small hydropower plant, the plan had made progress especially on the part of the equipment, that is, the turbines, generators, transformers and control gear, which were delivered on site. However, the civil works sub-contractor performed poorly and could not finish the works on schedule at the end of 2008 as earlier planned.
Let me clarify something. This sub-contractor was hired by WENRECO and not government. While we agree that there are certain conditions which have prevailed in the market like the high oil prices, escalation in prices of steel and cement that have made it difficult for WENRECO to perform and leading to heavy operational losses and increased capital expenditure on the investment side, WENRECO has also contributed significantly to the non-performance of the concession through the engagement of a poor civil works contractor. And also, in the manner in which they operate, if the Nyagak Power Plant had been completed, the shut down of the heavy fuel power plant which was due for overhaul may not have arisen.
Under the circumstances, government has met with WENRECO and put in place a course of action for restoration of power supply and strict conditionalities for the latter to perform as follows:
"  WENRECO has to engage a new and competent civil works contractor to finish the remaining works of Nyagak within six months.
"  Government will provide funds to purchase fuel to operate the heavy fuel oil power plant in Arua immediately and overhaul the power plant. This statement was supposed to have been made last week, so we have already procured the fuel.
"  An escrow account will be opened by WENRECO and the Rural Electrification Agency, which is the government arm, in order to manage and administer all revenues collected from the power consumers. In other words, government is now going to get directly involved in the management of that power plant, which was private in order to guarantee power supply to West Nile.
"  The Auditor-General has been detailed to carry out an audit of WENRECO in order for government to ring fence all liabilities which the company has accumulated so that the subsidies dispersed are not used to settle any previous liabilities. We are going to safeguard whatever support we are going to give.
With the above measures, Madam Speaker and hon. Members, I wish to assure this august House that government will no doubt address the power supply of the West Nile region and other regions in a sustainable manner.
My ministry will continue to give information concerning our operations to this House on a regular basis so that we are together all the way.
Currently, we are reviewing the role of government particularly with respect to private power generators. We want to review this because these private power generators are business people.
In the Act that you passed, there was no provision, which could enable government to control this private sector generation of power. We are reviewing this and I will bring a report to the House so that we have a say in controlling this.
We have to control the private sector that is generating power because they supply this power to the electricity grid that the people of Uganda consume. They supply to government so that power is finally delivered to the consumers. However, most often, the private sector has a tendency to hiking costs of production and this is one of the things that, in my view, government has to control and these are measures that we are going to take.
Next week, I will bring to this House a detailed programme of rural electrification for the whole country. I want all Members of Parliament to look at it and make contributions regarding the areas in their districts or constituencies that may need attention so that we update our programme to address the needs of rural electrification for the entire country. Those are the additional statements that I thought would accompany this statement. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: This issue was raised by hon. Angufiru and hon. Arumadri. Hon. Arumadri -
MR JOHN ARUMADRI (FDC, Madi-Okolo County, Arua): Thank you, Madam Speaker. To those of us in the West Nile region, this is a matter of life and death and for that reason; I do not intend to mince my words. We find the ministers statement very unconvincing. This is the usual lullaby sung by government to send the people of West Nile to sleep. I want to repeat here, for the third time, that our eyes are open and we have no intention of sleeping.
About a week ago, government brought two requests to this House for loans to enhance electricity in areas, which already have power. A second request was to connect this country to our neighbours. We were wondering why in the 21st Century, a whole region of the country comprising of seven districts of Nebbi, Arua, Maracha-Terego, Koboko, Yumbe, Moyo and West Nile is in darkness.
In 2002-2003 a study was conducted by a South African company, which stated that the most sustainable way of extending electricity to the West Nile region is to connect it to the national grid from Kamdini. If we did that, along the way we would be dropping power in the areas of Agung in Amuru, Oluyo, Purongo and a branch to the East to serve Anaka, continue through Pabbo to the district headquarters of Amuru and end up in Adjumani.
That is what we want as part of this country. When there is general darkness, let the whole country feel it. When there is power, we must have a piece of that small power. That is what is meant by equity and that is the spirit of the Constitution; that all areas of this country must be served equally.
We dont want to feel that we are a part of DRC as we pay taxes to this Government. This study was not implemented because of the Kony factor; that we could not run a high tension line across Murchison Falls National Park to the West Nile area because of Kony.
We are told very abundantly that Kony is no more. The cost of providing fuel to run a thermal generator in the short and long run is very expensive. We must use this money to connect the West Nile region to the national grid. This is our cry. We are not listening to this lullaby.
Madam Speaker, as I finish, let me mention our leaders. When His Excellency the President goes to our region, instead of telling the father of the nation that, Here is where the shoe is pinching us, we dont have this and that, instead they have become party recruiters. They say, You see your Excellency we are trying to work. 6,500 people have crossed from FDC to the Movement - my check! What is this? You are elected to serve your people and you are now sweet talking His Excellency. When he is there you provide power for 24 hours and he thinks you have almost arrived -(Interruption)
MR OKELLO-OKELLO: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I thank the honourable member on the Floor for giving way. The information I want to give is that during the campaigns of 2006, people complained about the lack of tarmac roads to presidential candidate Yoweri Museveni who was addressing a rally in Adjumani. He told the crowds, We are tarmacking the road to Arua; it is very near, you can smell it from here. Maybe they are also asking the people who are in darkness to smell electricity.
MR ARUMADRI: Madam Speaker, I want to finish. In my culture, we say that when you are the one dividing meat, you cannot fail to go home with a piece. We have sons of the soil at the table where meat is being divided; we have a son in the Ministry of Finance; we have another son who is directly in charge of energy -(Applause) we have another cousin from Lamwo who is the Senior Minister in Energy but these sons have failed to come home with our piece of meat. We want to put them on notice. (Laughter) If they do not deliver, this small cake to us, they should not cross Karuma. (Laughter) Thank you.
MS CHRISTINE BAKO (FDC, Woman Representative, Arua): Thank you so much, Madam Speaker. When hon. John Arumadri talks with that passion, you can expect what can come out of me.
But I want to begin by just giving you a little bit of a background to this problem. The last presidential visit to the West Nile Region was for four days and there was power in the region for 24 hours for the four days and immediately the presidential jet left the region there has been a supply of darkness ever since.
As John Arumadri said, This is a matter of life and death. I first want to register my disappointment in the way our regional referral hospital is suffering because of lack of power. Today as I talk, gynaecologists in the labour ward are feeling the heads of children using candles. Now imagine in a state - if I went into labour today in Arua Hospital, my minister would have to use a candle to check whether my baby is in the right position. And this is the extent to which this is a problem.
Our medical supplies that require power for preservation are threatened. We cannot be sure whether our vaccines are in the right state or not. Today the Minster of Labour has come out to talk about celebrating Labour Day and yet the absence of power has caused unprecedented unemployment in the region.
As I talk now, I have more than 6,000 unemployed in Arua town. If you came to Arua town today, the number of bicycles and unemployed youth walking in the streets because they cannot any longer be employed in their metal works, in fabrication, photocopying and all those activities that require power, is so disturbing.
And as hon. John Arumadri has rightly put it, our three ministers, should you not deliver what is happening, please attempt not to go there. What about school performance problems? These are all power related problems and they have never been taken seriously.
Madam Speaker, to show you the fact that the Minister seems to be joking, I went to West Nile Rural Electricity Company (WENRECO) offices and talked to the manager in Arua, he told me he could not break even although government was heavily subsidizing the heavy fuels. Now what was that in short, that this was a company not capable of running first of all the thermal plant let alone having the capacity to do the hydro plant in Nyagak?
He was advised by the site engineer that, Please, sub-contract another person or another firm for civil works, but that has never been done until now. The one that was done is substandard so whose word do we take for what, Mr Minister?
The civil works problem started long ago. They gave us six deadlines as to when they would deliver power to the region. All those deadlines passed but there is no power.
As I talk now, all the mechanical and electrical works could go in place but there is no civil works. And as we talk -(Interjection) it may be there but I can assure you that the iso-cost of that investment are not tandem with the iso-quant, if you remember your economics.
Madam Speaker, they are talking about the overhauling which is the problem. They knew very well that over a period of time this whole plant would need an overhaul. What is happening? They have deliberately done nothing about it and they say that the current state is because of the overhauling. That is not true. The minister needs a thorough explanation.
We are talking about government being ready to supply heavy fuel to run that thermal plant for US $80,000 per a month; this is extremely expensive. And if you do this over a period of six months  8 times 6 plus the number of zeros, you get the amount you need. If you invest all that money in the civil works, we would get power in less than six months from Nyagak. So, hon. Minister when you are in Cabinet passing US $80,000 per a month in heavy fuels, why dont you convert that in three months and give us clean electricity?
You are talking about seeking the audit. For the last three months you have been telling us that the Solicitor-General, the Auditor-General, we have to do a comprehensive audit and isolate the liabilities from the assets so that government takes over. First of all when you crafted this agreement, you did clumsy work. Some of these things are not transferable by the power of this agreement. Now tell me, apart from proceeding to the courts of law immediately, how do we intend to do this if you check that agreement? Because some of the assets and in fact the concessions are not transferable at all. One of which is the Olewo Mini Hydro-Power Plant that is not transferable in the short run. How do you expect to run like that?
MR TOSKIN: Madam Speaker, is it in order for the honourable member to really address the minister so closely and forgetting to address him through the Speaker? Is she in order?
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you address the minister through me and please, conclude. I know you dont like the darkness but please, conclude.
MS BAKO: You know the President talks of detractors but thank you for your ruling, I will take it that way that there are some detractors but I do not know how much electricity is in his constituency.
Anyway, I want to ask the minister to tell me how much over the period of time has been the actual investment of WENRECO into power production, supply and distribution in the region? Because as far as I know, it has been government doing these things a, b, c, and d many times. How much is the actual investment because there has been minimal extension of the power lines to domestic users? And the lines we are using were laid during the time the elections were approaching around the end of 2005. So, how much is the actual investment?
There is basically minimum lighting in Arua town as a result of people procuring their own generators and that is environmentally dangerous to us because everywhere you go there is noise in Arua and even now, if you took the President, you need US $80,000 to supply power for four consecutive days. Meanwhile, if I were to walk into the labour ward, there would be absolute darkness. Hon. Minister, are you delivering this power to West Nile as soon as immediately? Madam Speaker, there should be no joking.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, you will have an opportunity during the budget. Please be brief.
MS BAKO: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. In paragraph 6 the minister said that there are some conditions, which have prevailed in the market like the oil prices, escalation in prices of steel and cement. I would like to know whether these high prices are related to the current world financial crisis we are facing. If it is so, what is the government doing to mitigate further pressures from this?
Secondly, the minister has promised that at a later date he will give us details of how the rest of the regions are going to get power. But if you can briefly tell us when Karamoja region is also going to get this awaited power to be connected from Soroti - and colleagues you do remember that this promise was given some 15 years ago. Will these sleeping Karimojong, if they are at all sleeping, wait for another 15 years to receive this power?
DR FRANCIS EPETAIT (FDC, Ngora County, Kumi): Madam Speaker, in paragraph 3 of page 1 we are told the concession for construction of Nyagak small hydro power plant was US $6 million and then in paragraph 6 the minister laments how WENRECO has contributed significantly to the non-performance of the concession through engagement of the poor civil works of the contractor.
But in paragraph 7, government met with WENRECO and it is like it is just being pampered that, WENRECO, now that you engaged a poor civil sub-contractor, you can go ahead and engage a competent one, to finish the remaining works. That gives me the impression that the poor work so far done by the first contractor has to stay on.
I would like to find out from the honourable minister what sanctions have been given to WENRECO for that anomaly of poor civil works; now they are going to engage a new contractor to complete the remaining works. What happens to the poor ones that have already been done and how much was spent on the poor ones? That is all I want to find out.
MR FELIX OKOT OGONG (NRM, Dokolo County, Lira): Madam Speaker, I think this matter we are addressing stems from a problem of policy. And if we are to address this problem then we must do that. The problem we have is that government decided to privatise the supply and distribution of utilities to private companies and that is why we have this problem.
Look at WENRECO, which was concessioned to generate and supply power. US $8.25 million was given to that company, US $6 million was still given to this company and this company only came with US $3 million. And yet government has already spent a lot of money giving them the concession. So now the problem lies with government. We are not serious; we have just handled our utilities to private people who cannot deliver. Look at Umeme, the distribution and supply of power in Uganda is the worst.
Last time I described to you the power in Lira that is epileptic. Every time it is on and off. Even thunder alone will take away power. (Laughter) Even a heavy vehicle moving on the streets of Lira will actually switch off power. This is all because we have companies that do not deliver. And as government we are just seated here and just lamenting and therefore the minister made it clear - and I want to thank him - that the problem stems from our policy and in his regime he is going to review.
And I want to agree with him that reviewing it is him, but when you go to Cabinet, there is collective responsibility and what if government refuses to review that policy, what are you going to do? Because as a minister you have given us your position [MR BYANYIMA: You are talking from experience.] No, no. I am not. Therefore, I want to appeal to my government, I want to appeal to Members of Parliament that this is the time that we need to review our bad policies. Let us bring back delivery and distribution of public utilities to government. Let us give it to government because Umeme has failed, this Nyangak has failed, everybody has failed. It is now Government.
Even in America, they are now actually taking back companies; they are now being owned by government because private companies have already failed. Therefore, Mr Minister, I want you as soon as possible to deliver that Cabinet paper, bring it here and we review our policy.
MS HUDA OLERU (Independent, Woman Representative, Yumbe): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I have some few concerns on this report. One on page 3 of the statement the minister says they are going to have a better company, which is going to complete that work within six months. I would like to know starting from when? Because all along in West Nile we have been given duration: Within one month you will get power; within three months you will get power. So this time, I want to know, six months, starting from which month and ending in which month? We need to be specific.
Otherwise, this programme is making us liars as leaders of that region. What I want to tell this House today is that the people of West Nile do not want liars. (Laughter) If you know that you cannot do it, do not tell them, or else tell them, We are not doing it at this time. At least they will be convinced. Otherwise, if you say, We shall do it this time and you fail, the third time they become so wild and with the way they will do things, you will not believe that they are human beings. We need to tell them the right thing and when it should be done.
I want to ask one question: why was WENRECO chosen as the company for energy in West Nile? Was it because it was the only viable company to do the project in West Nile? Although the minister had promised that next week he will bring a better report where the MPs will forward their complaints, I want the minister to explain briefly the plan he has to connect Arua, Terego, Maracha, Yumbe, Moyo and maybe Adjumani. In the failed plan, there was nothing like Maracha, Terego, Yumbe, or Moyo. We are being isolated (Interjection)- Koboko is already in the plan, even for tamarcking. I am now talking about the districts, which have not surfaced in any plan of this government.
CAPT. (RTD) GUMA GUMISIRIZA (NRM, Ibanda County North, Ibanda): Thank you, Madam Speaker. Privatisation was and is still a good policy for government to divest its interests from certain aspects of business activities. However, it was very unfortunate that the privatisation exercise ended up being a profiteering exercise. As hon. Okot said, there are certain fundamental aspects of a country and an economy that must remain under the leader of the household. Privatising utilities like electricity, water, railways is a fundamental policy flaw. We made our views very clear in 1996 to 1999 when this policy was put in place. We said, Fine, privatise Coffee Marketing Board but there are certain aspects that must remain with the owner in order for him to be in charge. Certain aspects of an economy must be administered for purposes of welfare and not profit making or commercial purposes, like power.
When people are saying, Do not carry out deforestation, what do you want the people to do? They have to cut the forest in order to survive; they need energy. Hon. Hilary Onek does not have the money (Interjections) well ,I am saying that he is tied by the policy which is in place. Government must provide power to the nationals. This business of hiding under (Interjections) government must provide power and water to Ugandans. The railway has failed. Some of the ministers who have been in charge of the privatisation sector  like this sister of mine from Kapchorwa who is away  know that the majority of private companies are a hoax like RVR and Umeme.
Are you aware that in the agreement which government signed with Umeme, Umeme was supposed to inject something like US $80 million into the infrastructure to revamp it so that there is reduction of power loss? These people are instead using the rotten infrastructure, which they inherited and they are externalising money! In which part of the country has Umeme carried out revamping of the infrastructure which they inherited?
Aya, Phoenix Logistics, Kingdom Kampala - why do you bring fake companies? Why cant we contract private formidable companies that can come here with money? Incidentally, hon. Onek, how much of the US $8.25 million has government already released and how much of the US $6.6 million - the equity - has WENRECO injected in? We want to know the exact figures, hon. Onek. You are a mathematician and an engineer, give us statistics. We want to look at them.
You are saying WENRECO stopped supplying power altogether; why? What problems did they have after all these subsidies by government? They have abrogated the contract or something. Who are the shareholders in WENRECO?
Hon. Hilary Onek has said he wants to give a comprehensive picture of power in the whole country  that is extremely beautiful. I wanted to ask that but you read our minds. That is fine. By the way, give us a timeframe on that one. When are you bringing this comprehensive national power structure plan? Also, you tell us how much money of the US $8.25 has been paid to WENRECO. Tell us how much of the US $6.6 equity this company has spent and who the shareholders are, so that we can debate from an informed position. Thank you.
MR OKUMU: Madam Speaker, I am seeking a very small clarification from the minister. First of all, I would like to congratulate him for assuming that office. When hon. Hilary Onek was the Managing Director of National Water and Sewerage Corporation, he wrote a letter to us while I was in the Sixth Parliament, and I remember I laid that letter on the Table. In that letter he said that he was against the construction of the second power dam at Kiira Power Station. As many will agree with me, that construction failed to be sustained; it collapsed. I am actually happy that hon. Hilary Onek is in the right chair today and I encourage him to remain bold.
After the privatisation process, three parastatals were created: the Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited,  Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited and Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited. With all these companies in place, how come these things took place? I thought they have the role and responsibility to oversee and monitor, and make sure private investors deliver at each and every stage!
Lastly, on page 3 you said that the Auditor-General has been detailed. I would like to know whether government has a share in this. I am asking this because the laws are very clear  the Auditor-General is not allowed to audit private firms. With the old Audit Act, the Auditor-General used to only audit firms in which government had majority shares. With the new Audit Act of 2008, the Auditor-General can even audit firms where government has only a few shares, even if it just one percent. I would like to understand this because on the front page you say that this is purely a private company. How many shares are owned by government in this company because  (Interruption)
MR KATUNTU: Just some clarification on the same point. May I also take the opportunity to know who actually owns the company, West Nile Rural Electrification Company? Who are the shareholders and the directors?
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please, conclude.
MR OKUMU: Madam Speaker, basically that is what I had to raise. I can conclude by asking whether the minister knows that the Auditor-General, in doing his duties, reports to Parliament and that such reports, whether asked for by government or not, must be brought to Parliament? It will be up to the Members of Parliament to decide which reports to look at. I thank you.
THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION (Prof. Morris Ogenga-Latigo): Thank you very much. I had not wanted to contribute to this item at this stage, but as the Minister of Energy was doing his presentation - and I thank him for the statement - he said with a lot of emphasis that the law did not provide for the regulation of those in the energy sector. He also talked about the law which you passed. Does he know that we have the Electricity Regulatory Authority, which we were told would be in charge of regulating all that happens in that sector? So, what happened to them in respect of the West Nile Rural Electrification Company and all those who are cheating this country? Did we put our faith wrongly in the Electricity Regulatory Authority? I am asking this because that was my understanding.
Let me also give information to this country; in 1996 when hon. Richard Kaijuka was the Minister of Energy, a Spanish company came and based on their target they offered to government to do, on a turn-key basis, the extension of electricity from Gulu to Adjumani, Moyo, Yumbe, Koboko, Arua, Nebbi and Packwach. Hon. Richard Kaijuka wrote to the Ministry of Finance requesting them  I am saying this because I have got copies of all those documents  to authorise but that ministry rejected that offer. Not long after, the same Ministry of Finance asked for Spanish funding to build hospitals. That ministry used that funding to build hospitals in Kisoro, Kaboong and a large unit in Adjumani, which had a fairly good health centre.
At that stage  I am also perusing through the power line, which eventually was constructed after we got funding from Sida  I kind of gave up on the way things happen in our government. So, when I see the anger from hon. John Arumadri and compare it with the beautiful words from the minister, I get reminded of what happened that time. That is why I thought I should put it across for the information of the Members of this House. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND MINERAL DEVELOPMENT (Mr Hilary Onek): Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I also would like to thank my colleagues, hon. Members, for their contributions to this paper.
First of all, I would like to assure my cousin, hon. Arumadri, that I will still cross the River Nile at Karuma because I am sure he did not mean what he said. I also would like to assure him that in my life and career, I have never lied to anybody. I normally do not lie when I am talking about serious issues. So when I tell you that we are going to work on this West Nile thing and get a sustainable solution backed with engineering support, I know it will be worked on because I am following it up diligently. Even if it delays a bit, I will make sure West Nile does not go through this same problem again. Please, be assured.
On the government loan that was asked for and which is before you, I would like to say that it is not for non-existent areas. It is actually meant to strengthen the existing network. You will appreciate this situation when I bring you the comprehensive report on how to strengthen our systems. I can promise that I will listen to your advice because matters of development do not have anything to do with politics; they touch all of us together. I would like to ask you to be with us in handling this; there should be no politics in it.
On connection of power from Kamdini as an option, I can say that we are also looking at it.
There was a question on the use of money for fuel in West Nile. I would like to say that this being an emergency we are looking forward to having some form of power restored while we design means of addressing the bigger issues.
My brother, hon. Okello-Okello said that when those of Adjumani and Moyo asked for tarmac, they were told that the tarmac was just nearby and that they could even smell it. I would like to say that indeed the smell is getting closer. As government, we are scheduled to tarmac the road from Gulu to Pabo and the one from Atiak to Nimule. We will later on join the one to Adjumani. That is in the programme. At least as a member of government, I have seen it. Along with that, I would like to say that our engineers are already surveying the power line from Gulu to Adjumani. I know that we are going to construct that line within the nearest future.
I would like to say that it is true that when the President visited West Nile, the businessmen there deceived him that they were managing the system. They turned the power on briefly while he was still there but when he left, they turned it off. This is a problem because we do not have government presence on their board to control them from within the quarters. This is important because they are always making errors. I know that the Electricity Regulatory Authority is there, but it is at a distance and only works on the post mortem reports that they give. That is why I am saying that we need government presence in that thing. I have had 16 years of managing utilities and I know how they can be manipulated. Anyway, this is a policy position that we are going to work on. I would like to promise that once it is ready, we shall bring it before you in this House.
I would like to assure my sister that before her next delivery, there will be power in Arua. (Laughter)
Let me say something about the inability of West Nile Rural Electrification Company. I would like to assure Members that that is already cleared. We have asked the Auditor-General to audit them because government has injected money into it and as you know, such money has to be followed up by that office. I would like to add that government does not have any shares in this company. The company is owned by the Aga Khan Group of Companies.
Madam Speaker, there was a question on how much has been invested in this project. I would like to respond by referring members to my report because in it, I have already mentioned how much money has been committed to this project.
On the escalation of prices, I would like to say that at least as of now, fuel prices have come down. So, West Nile Rural Electrification Company has no reason, but we are now going to start supplying them with fuel because that is within the contract. They had asked for cash but we have objected to that. I would like to inform you that the regulatory authority has already given them a 45 days notice. They are now left with only 25 days with effect from today to justify why their contract cannot be cancelled. If they do not come out clearly, we will be forced to terminate the agreement in relation to that project.
My brother from Karamoja talked about the issue of extending power to that area. I would like to say that from the time I got to my office, we have been working on extending the programme for power extension from Mbale to Nakapiripirit and Moroto itself. We also hope to extend it to Katekekile where Tororo Cement Industry has started a stone quarry because we want the Karimojong to also benefit from those job opportunities. We are also taking power to that place so that Tororo Cement Industry can start grinding the stones from there. It is hoped that this will see many Karimojong get jobs.
We are also working on the programme to extend power to Katakwi and Toroma. That is an immediate programme. We will also extend power to Corner Kilak, Pader, Lira Paluo and Patong, Kalongo, Adilang and Abim in the Karamoja region. When we get to those places, our next step will be to extend it to Kotido. Those are our possible programmes on table. Let me add that we are also planning to extend power to Namukora from Kitgum and Orom, which will eventually see it being extended to Karamoja particularly in Kaboong areas.
MR ODONGA OTTO: I would like to say that the power extension from Kilak to Pader and Abim has already started. I would like to inform the House that Pader town will receive power by October this year. (Laughter)
MR ISHAA OTTO: Thank you, Madam Speaker. When the honourable minister was enumerating the areas for the immediate programme for the extension of power lines, I did not hear him talk about Ayer and Kamdini. He did not mention those places yet in many of the government communication documents that I received while his predecessor was in office, there was an indication that this year your ministry would start working on those power lines. So, can you give me the assurance now?
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, try to wind up, please.
MR ONEK: Thank you. Well, when I bring my next report, you will see that all those areas are being covered. It is we who know which area is funded by the World Bank, ADB and so on. They are all in there. I know that things have been a bit slow, but I can assure you I am going to push hard to see that by 2011 all those areas are covered with power.
Hon. Epetait asked if this year the West Nile Rural Electrification Company failed the concession, why again should we give them support? I would like to say that the point is that we are trying to rush to save the people of West Nile. That is why we are giving that company support. Otherwise, they are on notice and have only 25 days for us to terminate that contract if they do not satisfy us as to why they have not utilised the resources properly.
I would like to concur with the observations as made by hon. Guma and hon. Okot Ogong. I think the policy needs to be revised. I have already told you that soon I will bring the 1999 Electricity Act here for review so that we can include a clause that gives government mandate to control any power generation by a private company. If it is private company, maybe 51 percent of the shares should be for government and 49 percent for the private company so that we have control and they do not hike the tariff. Currently, all these new power generation companies are putting the price so high and these prices will eventually be offloaded to the customers in tariffs. That is why our electricity tariff is high.
Those are the things I have observed and we are working on them. I want you to just have faith and give us time. We are going to address those problems.
Concerning Umeme, definitely Umeme has its failures but those are now internal. I am going to handle them and see how we can make corrections where things are wrong.
Hon. Auru talked about the six months. We have given these people six months, starting last week when we met with them, to resume and finish the dam. If they fail, they are on notice on other accountabilities. If they fail on that altogether then we shall remove them.
Why was WENRECO chosen? WENRECO actually did bid to take that site and being an Aga Khan supported company, we expected them to have enough resources and capacity because they are the same team that is working on Bujagali. Government did not doubt their capacity but anyway, business people are business people.
Concerning the power to Adjumani, we are surveying. The line we shall take will be nearer Yumbe. I believe it reaches Adjumani and Moyo and is easy to extend towards Arua so that we cover those towns.
Privatisation of utilities will definitely be revised.
Shareholders of WENRECO: I have already mentioned that these are the Aga Khan Group.
Auditor-General: government put money there and so they are supposed to audit it.
Briefly, that is the little that I can say about the power in West Nile. I want to assure my cousins from West Nile that we shall struggle to get power back but when it is back, this time we do not want to see it collapsing again. Never! We do not want to see it collapsing. Thank you very much. (Applause)
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I had indicated that in the pubic gallery we have two delegations from out of Kampala. We have hon. George William Cheborion from the Sabiny Elders Association; Mr Kisofi Rikarenget of the same association; Mr Peter Kamuron, a former member of the NRC; Mrs Juliet Chemonges of the Reach Programme; Margaret Chelimo of the Inter-Africa Committee and a woman activist; and Geoffrey Sande.
From Pokot we have Mr Ambrose Merien of the Reach Programme; James Apollo, the coordinator of the same programme; Mohammed Chemaswet, sub-county counsellor from Amudat; Betty Cheron, female youth representative from the District Council of the Pokot; Rev. Jane Cheni, Arch Deacon of Amudat; and Semio Albert. We also have Mrs Beatrice Chelagat, Director-General of the Reach Programme; Robert Chengo, Deputy Director; Isaac Muteyi and Betty Yeko.
Hon. Members, they have come here for some very important business and I would like them to return to Pokot, Karamoja, and Kapchorwa this evening. So, I have made a small adjustment on the Order Paper and brought forward their matter so that we receive it now and then go back to the ministerial statement.
Before we do that, there is some technology which has to be organised around my feet. So, I will suspend the House for only two minutes so that the technology can come in and we move that motion. So, the House suspended for only two minutes.
(The House was suspended at 5.11 p.m.)
(On resumption at 5.24 p.m., the Deputy Speaker, presiding_)
DR CHRIS BARYOMUNSI (NRM, Kinkiizi County East, Kanungu): I thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Hon. Members of Parliament, as the technology is being sorted out, I want to thank you for according me the opportunity to move a motion seeking leave of Parliament to introduce a Private Members Bill. I have printed several copies of the motion and I hope they are being distributed.
I am moving under rules 43, 105 and 106 of our Rules of Procedure:
WHEREAS Article 79 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda empowers Parliament to make laws on any matter for peace, order development and good governance;
AND WHEREAS Parliament has enacted the Rules of Procedure pursuant to Article 94 of the Constitution and Rule 105 empowers Members of Parliament to move a Private Members Bill;
AND WHEREAS Article 24 of the Constitution prohibits any form of torture or cruel or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and Article 32 of the same Constitution outlaws cultures, customs and traditions which are against the dignity, welfare or interest of women and those that undermine their status;
CONSIDERING THAT FGM is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women and that about three million girls are at risk of female genital mutilation annually in Africa, and yet the procedure has no health benefits for girls and women; it harms them in many ways because it involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue and interferes with the natural functions of girls and womens bodies;
CONSIDERING FURTHER that it is nearly always carried out on minors - young girls between infancy and the age of 15 years - hence it is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a persons rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel inhuman or degrading treatment and the right to life when the process results in death;
COGNISANT THAT female genital mutilation reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women and yet in our country we have no specific legislation prohibiting this harmful practice in our society;
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that this House grants me leave to introduce a Private Members Bill for an Act entitled the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Bill, 2009, a draft of which is hereto attached, and do order the publication of the said Bill in preparation for its first reading.
Madam Speaker, I beg to move.
DR BARYOMUNSI: I thank you, Madam Speaker. I want to speak briefly to justify my motion and as I do, I want to take you through some few slides which will clearly demonstrate the subject I am talking about.
(Power point presentation made.)
DR BARYOMUNSI: This afternoon we are talking about female genital mutilation which by definition comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non medical reasons.
This is a painful procedure and practice that is done in many countries especially in sub Saharan Africa including Uganda. The first slide shows a woman depicting a painful procedure, which a woman in the 21st Century should not undergo.
I request that we switch off the lights. I am sure that all of us are above 18 years. The picture on the screen shows the normal female genitalia as we all know and its different parts. This practice of female genital mutilation is when you invasively injure the normal structures of the body for no medical purpose but as I will explain, mainly for selfish reasons especially on the side of us the men.
This procedure is classified in many ways depending on how deep the surgical invasion is. World Health Organisation classifies female genital mutilation in four types. The first type is where there is partial or total removal of the clitoris, which is the part of the female genitalia that is excited during sexual arousal. That demonstrates type one, which we also call clitoridectomy in medical terms.
The next picture shows type two, which is also called excision. Here there is usually partial or total removal of the clitoris and labia minora. There may or may not be excision of the labia majora so it is much more severe than type one. I want to say that in communities in Sebei and Karamoja as well as other communities, type one and type two are the common procedures that are carried out for female genital mutilation.
The next slide shows type three, which we also call infibulation. Here the surgical procedure is quite extensive in that the clitoris, the labia minora, labia majora and other related structures are removed and the surgeon stitches and leaves a very small orifice or hole to allow the flow of urine and menstrual blood. When the woman is to undergo a sexual encounter or give birth, then there is a process of de-infibulation where they re-open. This is a practice that is also being done in Uganda particularly by women of Somali origin. They are here in Kampala in Kisenyi and also in Isingiro in Nakivaale refugee camp and other parts of the country. These things are happening in Uganda where all of us as Members of Parliament are and we are saying they are inhuman and should not occur.
Madam Speaker, we also have type four, which constitutes any other harmful procedures, which might be applied to female genital organs not for medical reasons like pricking, piercing, incising, scrapping and any other traumatic injury that may be caused for purposes of culture and others.
The next slide describes type four and the kind of traumatic injuries which women are subjected to and how World Health Organisation classifies the various injuries, which are afflicted on the female genital organs.
The next slide is not very clear but shows some of the complications that arise. I will speak of them shortly but the commonest medium and long term complications are formation of scars and keloids, which normally complicate the process of giving birth as well as infections, which include HIV/AIDS.
That picture shows you the various tools - the knives - which the local surgeons use to traumatise the women. As we all know, this practice is largely carried out by rural women who are sometimes called rural surgeons. They do not normally sterilise some of these instruments and that is why you find women getting infected with serious infections including HIV/AIDS. You can see the knives are so scary. I want to tell you that there are women in this country who undergo female genital mutilation using those barbaric knives, tools and instruments and there are several districts and communities where this practice is being carried out.
I took you through some of those slides for you to appreciate the kind of biology we are talking about - the body structure. The literature available does not clearly indicate why several communities cherish this practice. There are those who advance it for cultural and customary reasons while there are some few who hide under the pretext of religion. What is clear however is that this is a practice in most communities, which is perpetuated by the selfish interests of men. For some of the communities in Uganda, we are told that historically, the men used to be hunters and they would go for hunting expeditions, which would last for three to five months and they thought the women would be promiscuous when the men were away. So they devised this culture of cutting the female organs in order to disable the women so they would not become sexually aroused when the husbands are away. However, it would also mean that when the husbands came back, that disability would remain. We feel that this is very unfair to women and young girls and we should all stand up and outlaw this practice.
The practice of female genital mutilation is prevalent in over 20 districts in this country. Some of you are Members of Parliament of those communities where this practice is cherished. The districts include, among others, Kapchorwa, Bukwo, a number of districts in Karamoja, other districts like Bugiri, Kamuli, Isingiro, Kampala, Masindi, Luweero; there are over 20 districts in all.
Studies have been done but we note that it is the Sabiny who have migrated to a number of these districts who undergo female genital mutilation as well as refugees of Somali origin who are in Nakivaale and parts of Kampala that are also scattered all over the country. However, the major tribes are the Sabiny, Pokot, the Somalis and others and some of these are scattered in other districts of the country.
As I wind up, I would like to say that there are no benefits whatsoever of this female genital mutilation, whether medical or social, therefore, there is no justification at all for this practice to be happening anywhere in the world.
What we know is that there are several and severe complications which are associated with this practice. The immediate complications include severe pain, shock, bleeding, infections, urine retention, open sore injuries et cetera.
This is a practice which also disables the women and in the long term. They get injuries and several complications which include urinary tract infections, infertility, maternal and child birth complications. We know there is evidence in communities where FMG is practiced that maternal mortality and maternal morbidity and child mortality are higher than in communities where FMG is not practiced.
There are also complications like fistula where the women become incontinent of urine and faecal material. There are also problems like HIV/AIDS. There is evidence that in communities where FMG is practiced, because the tools are not sterilised HIV/AIDS transmission is relatively higher. There is also the complication of sexual dysfunction because you disable the normal structures of a human being. Therefore, we do feel that there should be a law.
Madam Speaker, the communities where this practice is prevalent have already been demanding for a law. Here with me I have a copy of an ordinance which has been enacted by the district government of Kapchorwa. It is basically calling upon Government and all the state actors to expeditiously and urgently come up with a law prohibiting FMG. I take the opportunity to lay it on the Table.
A lot of advocacy interventions have been going on and I must state that as we make the law, the law alone is not enough to curb or completely eliminate this practice. We would want to urge Government to supplement the efforts of NGOs and civil society which have been funding programmes to address FGM. There must be resources allocated for these activities so that we can have advocacy interventions to mobilise communities in all these districts where women are being mutilated. So, we must come up with interventions and have them supported to ensure that we completely eliminate this practice. The coming up of a law is to supplement all those efforts.
I would like to thank hon. Dora Byamukama, the Director of LAW-Uganda, who has assisted us to draft this Bill. We also appreciate the support of UNFPA and other agencies which have keen interest in having this law passed immediately and for their support of a number of interventions on the ground.
Hon. Members, you must be noticing that it is a man moving this motion to outlaw a practice which negatively affects our counterparts, the women. I therefore call upon everybody, men and women, to unanimously support this motion without any objection. (Applause) It is an international concern. Even the United Nations has marked February 6th as the International Day against Female Genital Mutilation. So, we have Tarehe Sita for FGM.
Many countries have actually come up with laws to prohibit and criminalise this practice. So, it is long overdue for us as a country. I therefore call upon you to expeditiously support this process and we get a law which will prohibit this negative and harmful practice of FGM. So, allow me to lay on the Table a copy of the motion and also a copy of the draft Bill as demanded by our Rules of Procedure. I thank you very much, Madam Speaker.
MS JANE ALISEMERA (NRM, Woman Representative, Bundibugyo): Madam Speaker, I stand to support the motion seeking leave of Parliament to introduce a Private Members Bill entitled The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation.
From what we have just seen, everyone looked scared; people are traumatised. So you can imagine what the women are going through. This FGM practice is an extreme form of inequality between sexes. It is an extreme form of discrimination against women. It violates the girl childs rights and those of women in those communities.
The UN Declaration of 1948  and Uganda is a UN member - talks about the protection and promotion of fundamental and other human rights and freedoms. It says that the rights and freedoms of the individual and groups enshrined in that chapter shall be respected, upheld and promoted by all organs, agencies, governments and by all persons. Here we see communities in which women are being forced or being coerced to be mutilated in the name of culture.
Madam Speaker and hon. Members, you will agree with me that the culture of practicing FGM has mainly infringed on the rights of girls and women in the communities of Kapchorwa, Karamoja and other parts of this country where it is being practiced. We know that we have a right to dignity and fair treatment, a right to sexual and reproductive health, rights to be free from torture and cruel inhuman or degrading treatment and a right to life. Sometimes when these people are circumcised they bleed to death and that is murder, but we have been quiet about this, thinking that it is very good for the women to be cut so that they can keep their reproductive organs for the men who have gone hunting or who have gone to trade or raid cattle.
I am very happy today that hon. Chris Baryomunsi, who is a man, has managed to move this motion. On behalf of the women of Uganda, thank you very much, Chris Baryomunsi, for being gender sensitive. (Applause) I am happy to notice that after being shown those pictures, the men in this Parliament could not stand this. So, I feel the men in this House are becoming more and more gender sensitive and I am sure this Bill will just sail through. Thank you very much, hon. Members of this august House.
We know very well that a circumcised woman stops enjoying sexual intercourse at the age of 40. The women of Kapchorwa that I have interacted with told me that men have a chain of women because at 40 his wife has developed colloids as we have just seen, she has developed scars and the place is completely closed.
They have been thinking that the woman has grown masses within. They deceive them that at 40, you grow masses and so you cannot have your conjugal relationship. So they get another woman. So, you can imagine how these women are physically and mentally tortured in the name of culture.
I want to thank this Parliament for having given the Private Members Bill space so that we can enact a law which will help the women who have been suffering under the name of culture. I thank you.
MR HERBERT SABILA (NRM, Tingey, Kapchorwa): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I stand to second the motion. Like you have all seen and witnessed, the dangers of FGM are real. This is not mere propaganda, as perpetrators deem to say. The several dangers have been explained by Dr Baryomunsi.
I just want to give local examples because I come from the district where FGM is being practiced. We had three ladies who underwent this practice the same day sometime in 1976. They were Judith Nakatari, Monic Cherimo and Betty Cheboi. The last two are dead. May their souls rest in peace! When the survivor Judith Nakatari gives a testimony, you realize that they were normal before the practice. They got circumcised on the same day. I think like Dr Baryomunsi was explaining, they must have got infected by a virus. They got disabled before they cured. The survivor is disabled up to today.
The other day, the Committee on Equal Opportunities visited Kapchorwa led by the yellow girl, hon. Anifa Kawooya. The survivor presented a testimony that sent all of us into tears. This is not something that we should not bother about; we should have a law in place.
It is good that you have always participated in the district culture days of Kapchorwa. You have witnessed several testimonies that young girls put across. You remember when we were celebrating the UN population award in 1997 where you officiated as guest of honour, there were three girls who had been disowned by their parents just because they did not accept to take this practice. So the problems are far beyond the ones that we see here. Sometimes, the perpetuators of the practice say, If you are my daughter and you do not undergo this practice, I disown you from today.
And those are the cases that we have had in the parts that I come from. In such a situation, leaders like us fail to see the direction to take. Unless there is a law, we cannot do much. We have had sensitisation programmes. The Uganda Government, even His Excellency the President at one time came in 1998 and officiated at one of the culture days and he told the people that this was a practice that should be stopped. But people have continued to do it. We continued working on the sensitisation until we brought in the Sabiny elders association that today is represented by the Mzee Chebroi who is in the gallery. The Sabiny elders also came up and said No. Although they had this practice long before, it was now time that they left the practice. And that support was also from the Government of Uganda.
Madam Speaker, we have been told an ordinance has been enacted by Kapchorwa local government. This is an indicator that Kapchorwa District is really yearning for a law for FGM, and we have been told very clearly that this law, when it is in place, is going to help many of our young girls.
I want to say that we will come up with a law but the law may not single-handedly work. I want to propose that the law be enacted and then we really need the girl child education support if government and Ministry of Education specifically would come up with an intervention programme where we specifically sponsor the girl child to go to school.
I am saying this because girls that have gone to school have shunned this practice but those that are still continuing with the practice are those in the remote areas of the district where they do not go to school. So the way to show pride is to undergo FGM, and when they undergo FGM they become socially very powerful. Women who are not circumcised - for us anybody who is not circumcised is called a mere girl. Even in water collection points, when they go to line up to collect water, somebody who is not circumcised is not given space. They will say, You girl, leave me to fetch my water. So because of this type of social trauma they say, What am I doing? Why dont I go and get circumcised? And you realise that even recently married women are the ones that undergo the practice more than young girls, because of the influence from the mothers-in-law. There are so many other things like, You are not supposed to milk a cow; you are not supposed to remove grain from the granary. So, all those are concerns that need to be addressed.
But for those who have gone to school they know that their salary will be used to buy grain, it will be used to buy their own cows and it is not in the traditional setting where a cow is handed by the father to the son and therefore the instructions that if your wife is not circumcised, she cannot be allowed to milk the fathers cow. For record purposes  I know I will later be challenged by colleagues, but my wife is not circumcised (Laughter) 
Madam Speaker, I just want to appreciate the statement made by hon. Dr Baryomunsi that we need a specific budget for FGM now that we are in the budget process. In that same vein, I would like to call upon my honourable colleagues to ensure we include, in this years budget, some support for FGM. This will help us sensitise these people and also support the implementation of the law that will soon come in place.
Finally, allow me thank our predecessors like hon. Gertrude Kulany, who has been able to struggle for this programme since its beginning. Hon. Jane Frances Kuka is not with us today but I would like to say that she has also carried the flag. I would also like to appreciate the effort by the Sabiny elders association, the custodians of the culture, but are saying that this is a bad practice and should be discarded. They are in the gallery to witness the enactment of this law. I thank you, Madam Speaker.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Okay, hon. Members, now that the movers have finished contributing, the other Members will have only three minutes. Let us start with the Chairperson of Committee on Equal Opportunities, the Chairperson of the Social Services Committee before we get to hon. Kigyagi.
THE CHAIRPERSON, EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE (Mrs Anifa Kawooya): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I and Members of the Committee on Equal Opportunities have just returned from the districts of Kapchorwa and Nakapiripirit. I would like to thank all the leaders in those two districts and the NGOs operating in those areas especially REACH, UNFPA, UNICEF and others that have been working together to do sensitisation and elimination of this practice.
It is only when someone shares experience with these communities that that person will appreciate that the correct name for FGM is Female Genital Cutting (FGC). It is only when one goes there that they will appreciate that this law should be enacted today and not tomorrow.
I would like to report that we will soon be presenting our report on the experiences so that we can share it with the rest of the Members. Otherwise, I can tentatively tell you that there is no person, whether the girls themselves, parents, the surgeons as they are known or the mentors, that appreciates that this is a good practice.
Someone asked why they are doing it. I would like to say that other than the cultural values, there are people who are doing it for economic gains. For example, one of the surgeons testified to us that for every woman she cuts, she is given a whole cow. There is quite a lot of information that we got. What Dr Baryomunsi has given is just a tip of the iceberg. The women who have gone through it will tell you that when they are pregnant, they go through a lot of problems. And after delivery the whole part gets sealed. During another delivery such women have to be cut again.
We were told that the medical doctors who work in those areas do not know how to handle such situations; they only make use of the traditional birth attendants to cut the pregnant women using local knives. There is nothing good in this practice!
I would like to report that especially the Pokot  and I would like to thank hon. Francis Kiyonga who is on the ground to ensure that its elimination is adhered to. The Pokot are practicing FGM 99 percent (Member timed out_)
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Okay, let us have the Chairperson of the Social Services Committee. And let us try to keep three minutes, please.
THE CHAIRPERSON, SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE (Mrs Rosemary Seninde): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I would like to use this opportunity to thank hon. Chris Baryomunsi together with other honourable colleagues for seconding this motion. I want to say that I stand to support the motion. I would like to appreciate that all the justifications against this practice have been aired. So, I may not go into details.
However, I would like to say that it is true that we are against cultures that violate human rights, for example, FGM. I am saying this because as we are all aware, sex is a human need. And because we have pointed out that FGM disrupts sexual desires of a woman, it therefore must be stopped.
I would like to also point out that FGM is a selfish cultural practice done for the interests of men. In the same vein allow me say that according to what hon. Chris was showing all types of mutilation were seen. In part four the slides indicated that elongation is also part of the business. I would like to bring to the attention of this House that it is very important that when it comes to defining mutilation in the coming law, we should make it very clear. The reason is (Interjections) no, I do not need information 
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, you know that this motion is only for seeking leave. So, address only that. We shall deal with the details at the time of handling the actual Bill. Should we give him leave or not?
MRS SENINDE: Madam Speaker, I support the motion that we grant leave, but why I am pointing out these issues is to allow our colleague put them into consideration when he goes to work on this Bill. I suggest that the issue of elongation should not be part of the law -(Interjections) the Members are eating up my time. I beg for protection.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, the issue of elongation will be discussed during the public hearing when the Bill returns for the first reading. Let us deal with permission today.
MRS SENINDE: Madam Speaker, I humbly beg that you give me the opportunity to build my case so that when he goes to work on the Bill he considers it; it should not be part of the law. I am saying this because as you very well know elongation contributes to sexual excitement both for the man and woman. So, if we put it together with mutilation, we will be missing a point.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: But, hon. Member, you are only anticipating. Okay, let us have hon. Kigyagi. And please deal only with permission.
MR JOHN KIGYAGI (NRM, Mbarara Municipality, Mbarara): Madam Speaker, thank you very much. I would like to thank hon. Dr Baryomunsi for bringing this motion. My single question is: why did it take a long time for the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to bring this to the attention of this House? I am saying this because many of our girls have suffered; many of our people have suffered and as you have seen, the practice is very crude! As the researchers have said, it is done for selfish reasons; it is not even part of their culture but it was the selfish nature of man. So I think the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Gender should have realised this.
The second issue is the one which the chairperson for Social Services Committee has raised and I would like hon. Baryomunsi to bring it out very well because mutilation is manipulation of any part not necessarily cutting and there are cultures in this country which manipulate the sexual organs of women. (Laughter) It is known! So when the law comes the Speaker has guided that that should be defined. Unless you refer to it as cutting, mutilation is manipulation and it my implicate that. Once that one is clarified - because the other one does not have negative effects -
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I have asked you to focus on permission but now you are going into the Act. Please, focus on the permission because Members are now moving a motion to close the debate.
MS MARIAM NALUBEGA (Independent, Female Youth Representative): Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I support the motion. I also wish to thank you for lighting the fire. I remember two months ago when we had a press conference about FGM, it attracted a lot of attention from all the countrymen.
I am very concerned because the people who are suffering are my constituents. If you see the category of the girls that are being cut, they are girls between the age of 13 and 24 years. This has a big impact on development.
Right now, during this season, girls are not in school because they have run away. That accounts for the high number of school drop outs in those regions where FGM is being practised. If you try to locate the origins of the street children here in Kampala, you will find that they are from Kapchorwa and Nakapiripirit and they are running away from these cruel practices. There is no justification for one to cut a girl in such a manner. There is no justification for one to undergo such a kind of treatment!
I am supporting this motion and I want to urge government to find special social protection for those girls in those regions. These girls are at the mercy of the selfish people who are looking for financial gain. It has nothing to do with culture. No such culture can be applauded in this country. I support the motion and I want this law to be passed as soon as possible to protect my constituents.
THE PRIME MINISTER AND LEADER OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS (Prof. Apolo Nsibambi): Madam Speaker, we are very grateful to the mover of this motion. Government supports it 100 percent! (Applause)
MR ERIAS LUKWAGO (DP, Central Division, Kampala): Thank you, Madam Speaker. Whereas I support the motion, I have some reservations on technical matters. I know for sure that this practice amounts to a crime against humanity and it should be condemned by all right-thinking members of society. But I just want to raise a technical matter.
The mover moved the motion in good spirit. I can see here that he wants to bring a Bill titled the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Bill, 2009. One thing I want to make clear is that this practice or custom is already prohibited under the law. When you look at Article 2 of the Constitution, clause 2 provides as follows: If any other law or any custom is inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Constitution, the Constitution shall prevail, and that other law or custom shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.  
So this practice of Female Genital Mutilation is a custom which has been prohibited under the Constitution. Here the mover has cited the relevant provisions particularly Articles 24 and 44 which prohibit any inhuman and degrading treatment. The point is if it is prohibited under the law, what is left is to make it an offence and that is it. So what we should do here is, and I think the proper procedure would be, to amend the Penal Code and not to bring a different legislation.
We are not bringing a law to regulate the practice or custom. That would call for an independent legislation but if you are prohibiting the practice or custom, if you are making it an offence, it would be proper practice to amend the Penal Code and make the practice/custom an offence.
There are several sex offences and offences against morality. But if you have these scattered laws like on the prevention of trafficking in persons, homosexuality and what not - let us amend the Penal Code; it is just a two-clause offence. The custom should hereby be made an offence, you prescribe the penalty and that puts the matter to rest. Otherwise, we do not need an independent legislation of this nature. That would be my guidance, Madam Speaker. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, hon. Shadow Attorney-General, I think even the girls in Kapchorwa know about the Constitution but just by that being there they have not been assisted. We need a law specifically on that subject.
DR FRANCIS EPETAIT (FDC, Ngora County, Kumi): Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. From the time this motion was moved, my assessment of all the Members present in this Chamber is that we are all psychologically traumatised because of such a dehumanising practice. In fact, I would even call it a terrorist practice. (Laughter)
We have put up a number of justifications. First of all, with due respect to my colleague, whereas there might be a number of pronouncements in the Constitution, Parliament can still go ahead and enact laws to operationalise those commands in the Constitution. I think we would not do any harm to have a specific law to deal with female genital mutilation. That is my opinion.
It was just because of time limitations but the attendant side effects of that traumatising practice are so numerous that it would cause more traumas even to those who hear about it. We have been debating and justifying the need for that law. In fact, I am already jubilating thinking that we are about to finish the second reading. So, when we bring the law for first reading, we will probably need to spend just a few minutes on the second reading and pass it by third reading. I do not know how the Bill is currently but we need this law and I wish it were possible to have passed third reading by tomorrow.
When we were debating the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Bill, I was so desperate that I proposed an amendment to the definition clause specifically to provide for a definition of human sacrifice, where I put in something to do with removal of any organ, mutilation for purposes of sale or rituals. What I had at the back of my mind was actually to deal with FGM. But now that there is a specific Bill coming for prevention of female genital mutilation, hon. Members, I think let us move in that direction to help our women in this country.
Madam Speaker, I would even want to move a motion that:
Having heard the justification of this Bill to prevent female genital mutilation;
And considering the cruelty and the harm that such practice has caused to the female folk in this country;
Aware that this practice has caused a lot of psychological trauma and death in this country;
I beg to move that the question be put for this motion seeking leave of Parliament to present a Private Members Bill. 
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I put the question that the question be put.
(Question put and agreed to.)
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I now put the question that this House do give leave to the honourable member to move a Private Members Bill.
(Question put and agreed to.)
(Motion adopted.)
THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION (Prof. Morris Ogenga-Latigo): Thank you, Madam Speaker. When the matter that we have just resolved was being brought before the House, you informed the House that the reason why you skipped an item under agenda item No. 3 was because the people who were closely associated with the motion, whom I must thank since I did not have an opportunity to contribute, were going to travel and that we were going to move back to item No.3 (4) on the Order Paper.
That item is a statement on Migingo from the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge -(Interjections)- the Order Paper was amended in the beginning. Unfortunately when amended, you cannot change it on the one you have. You needed to have been here in the beginning. So, Madam Speaker, since you are sure that is done, I beg that we go back to that item and then we can proceed to the rest of the Order Paper.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I would like to appeal to you Members. We are enjoined to give priority to government business and we have given priority to three government businesses already. I am just appealing that we hear one more from the civil society before we go back to the government business. I think this one is going to be short. They have also been here since 2.00 Oclock.
PROF. OGENGA-LATIGO: Thank you, Madam Speaker. The need for us to see the minister make the statement would not have arisen if a matter that you were consulted on and that we considered to be of national importance had been given an opportunity after the Communication from the Chair. Since that matter is important, I would still appeal that we maintain what you had said and then we see how to proceed after that one. We can curtail the debate on that matter.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am aware of the matter and it is very important. I am going to give you time. There is a matter he wants to raise concerning the community and I am going to give him time. Let us have that motion quickly, get rid of it and get back to the statement. Afterwards we can stay here till midnight and talk about East Africa and all the other things. I am appealing to you.
Let us hear from hon. Bahati. In connection with the motion he is moving, we have in the gallery Apostle Julius Peter Oyet, Vice-President of the Born Again Federation; Pastor Dr Martin Sempa of the Family Policy Centre; Stephen Langa, Family Life Network; hon. Godfrey Nyakaana; the Mayor of Kampala City Council; Julius, a young boy who was sodomised, and his mother. His story has been in the press. They are all here in the gallery. Please, let us deal with them so that they can leave. There is also George Oundo who came out to speak against homosexuality. Please, let us balance the public good and our good since all of them are important. We shall do them all very quickly. Hon. Bahati.
MR DAVID BAHATI (NRM, Ndorwa County West, Kabale): Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to move a motion seeking leave of Parliament to introduce a Private Members Bill moved under Rule 47, 105 and 106. Some of the few copies available are going to be circulated in a minute. I beg the indulgence of Members that I move on.
WHEREAS Article 79 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda empowers Parliament to make laws on any matter for peace, order, development and good governance;
AND WHEREAS Article 31, clause (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda legalises marriage between a man and a woman;
AWARE THAT the same Constitution under Article 31 specifically prohibits marriage between persons of the same sex;
AND FURTHER AWARE that sections 45, 46 and 47 of the Penal Code Act create unnatural offences, attempt to commit unnatural offences and the offence of indecent assault on boys under the age of 18 respectively, these provisions do not adequately address the problem of homosexuality;
CONSIDERING THAT there is no comprehensive Act of Parliament that deals with homosexuality and;
FURTHER CONSIDERING that the position of government which is also reflected in the Constitution opposes legalisation of homosexuality;
NOTING THAT the major targets of homosexuality campaigns are the vulnerable youth, children and the destitute;
GIVEN THAT Parliament has enacted its Rules of Procedure, pursuant to Article 94 of the Constitution which also empowers a Member of Parliament to move a Private Members Bill under Rules 105 and 106;
NOW, THEREFORE, this motion is moved that the House grants me leave to introduce a Private Members Bill for an Act entitled Anti-homosexuality Bill, 2009, a draft is hereto attached, and do order the publication of the said Bill in preparation for the first reading.
I beg to move.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: It is seconded.
MR LUKWAGO: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am seeking guidance from you. The Bill that the honourable member is seeking to bring here is about homosexuality. As a practising lawyer, I and everybody else here who has taken trouble to read the Penal Code will find that homosexuality is an offence under the Penal Code. The guidance that I am seeking is whether we need any other legislation when the practice is expressly prohibited in the Penal Code, a penalty provided and people are being charged in courts of law? As Parliament, are we really moving on a proper course to legislate on a matter, which is already prohibited under the Penal Code? I seek your guidance, Madam Speaker.
MR ODONGA OTTO: Madam Speaker, in relation to what hon. Lukwago has said, there would be a legal departure from the previous clarification that hon. Lukwago sought when we were debating the FGM. In my legal opinion, in the previous situation you cannot talk of prohibiting because there may be aspects of regulation that have to come in, while taking into consideration the concerns of hon. Seninde.
However, in this case, honestly speaking I have not even seen the draft Bill and I am wondering what the contents will be because the fact remains that homosexuality is banned in the Constitution so I am just wondering what the contents of the Bill would be. I would personally agree with hon. Lukwagos argument and say that we cannot legislate on everything. In fact, legislation on these sensitive issues will even teach our children about them. So the guidance I am seeking is whether we need an Anti-Homosexual Bill and if we need it, what the contents would be?
THE MINISTER OF STATE, REGIONAL AFFAIRS (Mr Isaac Musumba): Madam Speaker, this country has of late been besieged and is under attack from homosexual advocates and people who do unnatural things to each other. People are even talking about men marrying men. Those practices out there have come in the past two or three years and become so pronounced that our children, and I am a father of several boys, are in danger. Therefore, the statement that is being made by this country is that we should have a law that expressly says no homosexuality will be permitted in this country.
As you ruled earlier when we were discussing the FGM, it is a question of making a statement. Nothing says that if you have a section in the Penal Code you cannot expound on a particular matter in a separate law. There will be no inconsistency and it is something that is permissible under the law. For example, if you read the Penal Code, you will find that we have a problem of the definition of a gay marriage and other unnatural offences. We want a law that clearly states all these things so that we can use it to rid this country of this scourge. I support the motion.
MS ALICE ALASO (FDC, Woman Representative, Soroti): Madam Speaker, this country and Parliament must have the courage to defend its young people, to defend the stability of this nation and to follow the precedents that are already set in this House. It is wrong to steal and the Penal Code provides for theft but before us we have an Anti-Corruption Bill. Why do we have it when that is also theft?
I think we must have the courage to make a statement regarding the influence of homosexuals and the people with money who want to influence our children and mislead our nation -(Interruption)
MR ODONGA OTTO: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The impression that the honourable colleague is giving when she says we need to build courage does not augur well with my understanding. No one supports homosexuality in this House; not even me or hon. Lukwago. What we are raising are the legal aspects; if we needed to legislate on everything we would need a Treason Act, an Anti-Theft Act, an Anti-Lying Act. It is just a legal principle we are trying to push forward. Is hon. Alaso in order to insinuate that others are not courageous when we are defending our profession in public?
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I dont know whether you are tuned to current events here where UNICEF has published and distributed a book in our schools informing children that it is okay to have same sex marriages in Uganda; our children, in this country! She is in order. Please, proceed.
MS ALASO: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. If we went by the argument of the legal experts in the House, how would we handle the publications that are being made on homosexuality? Where do we address matters of rehabilitation because this is a traumatising experience? People need rehabilitation from being homosexuals to get back to normal behaviour. How do we sort out these matters just by a mere provision in the Penal Code? We should be - (Interruption)
MR OGENGA-LATIGO: Thank you, Madam Speaker and I thank my honourable colleague for giving way. I would beg that our learned brothers look at the Bill. It is not about criminalising homosexuality but an anti-homosexual one, which is different even from criminalising, which is already done. Anti means that we are going to provide for how we can campaign against it, what we must do with those who promote it, et cetera.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I think he has conceded.
MR ODONGA OTTO: Madam Speaker, given what hon. Alaso has said about the need to regulate these people and how to handle them, I concede and abandon my legal issues.
MS ALASO: Madam Speaker, I want to thank my honourable colleagues because there is also the social context which we have to put into the legal arguments and the provision for regulation. Most importantly as actors, we need to tell people what they should do. What should be the role of an LC I in the light of these developments in our country? I want to support this and urge that let the Bill be given an opportunity; let the leave of the House be given so that this Bill is tabled. Thank you.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Now move your motion.
MR BAHATI: Madam Speaker, I have laid a copy of the draft Bill but I just wanted to make one or two points in justification of the motion for completeness of the record and to assure our learned friends that the red volumes will never be full at any one time.
I just want to mention one simple case that happened on Easter Sunday when everybody was busy celebrating the Holy Day, we were shocked to read in The Sunday Monitor a headline about an 11 year old boy, Julius, who is here with us in the gallery allegedly being sodomised and expelled from his school and officials from Mulago reported damaged splinter muscles in his anus, which led to uncontrollable flow of human waste. More painfully, Juliuss alleged attacker, Herman Kalule Kirumira was left to go free and has used this opportunity to harass and intimidate this boy and the mother who happens to be a widow.
Reports of this nature have come out in the recent past and I know that for each Julius we read about, there are thousands whose stories are unexposed and never make it to the headlines. Many people have been crying for our help and no more should we be silent about this creeping threat of homosexuality to our children and our families.
There has been propaganda especially in schools and using cartoons to exploit our young people that to be a homo or a lesbian is okay. I think, Madam Speaker, this propaganda is against Gods natural law and the law of the land. We know and believe as Ugandans that any sexual activity outside the bonds of union of marriage between a man and woman is immoral and has never been our culture. Whereas there is an argument that there are people who are born homosexuals and naturally get attracted to people of their sex, there is abundant evidence to suggest that there is no scientific evidence to validate this argument. And many of these supporters say that to be attracted to a person of the same sex is a right. I think we have so many rights in this country and in the world but I do not think that the right to homosexuality is one of them; not at least in Uganda.
Today they are talking about a right to homosexuality, tomorrow it might be a right to walk naked or to defilement. And I think the so called right will lead to the destruction of our social fabric and value system. We cannot afford to see this pass on as we watch.
Madam Speaker, we are working hard for the future of our children but I think we should never forget that the best inheritance we pass on to the next generation is a society built on values and norms that standardize certain responsibilities that make society function. And among these responsibilities is bearing and raising children; being a husband and a father; being a wife and a mother and these responsibilities are undoubtedly God given and specifically heterosexual.
The way independence was a defining issue during the colonial days and peace was a defining issue during the world wars and wealth creation during the great depression, defending the natural and traditional family is one of the key defining issues of our time. As peoples representatives, we cannot afford to tinker on the edges; we cannot afford to be intimidated. Let the message go forth from this House that Ugandans shall never trade their dignity -(Applause) and cultural values for money or anything whatsoever. This Bill, therefore, provides an opportunity to strengthen our legal system in order to protect our society. Uganda needs a comprehensive and enhanced legislation to protect cultural, legal, religious and traditional values! We need to protect our children and youth who are being made vulnerable to sexual abuse as a result of cultural intrusion and uncensored information technologies.
The land of the law and the Penal Code do not address this issue adequately and that is why we are bringing this issue to this House. Madam Speaker, as I end, I would like to make one request to this House to grant me leave to introduce a Private Members Bill to address this creeping evil in Uganda. And I want to earnestly say that this is the first step, Parliament can do best on the front of the laws. I want to call upon the Church leaders, cultural leaders and the Imams to strengthen their service of teaching and preaching against homosexuality as well as rehabilitating the victims of homosexuality and helping them in finding their true nature as man and woman fully capable and responsible of raising a natural and heterosexual family.
Hon. Members, with your help and that of all stakeholders, we have been developing this with the help of many stakeholders; many of them who are in the gallery have been introduced. The Church of Uganda, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Mosques  the Sheikhs have been with us. We thank the legal department of Parliament and other Members who have contributed to this. I want to promise that with your help and that of the stakeholders, we will come up with a good legislation for which after 100 years from now our children will look back and say, Yes the Eighth Parliament did something good for Uganda; true Uganda provided leadership on this issue in the world. I beg to move. (Applause)
MR BENSON OBUA-OGWAL (UPC, Moroto County, Lira): Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the mover of this motion for ably justifying and I stand up to second him. Just yesterday, for those of you who watched NTV Tonight and the late night news, you might have seen an episode which happened in Mukono where a teacher called Ssemondo Simon from Zion Primary School, Nakisunga sub-county told a 13 year old boy to take water to his house and he sodomised him. That was on the 15th of April - this month. Fortunately, this brave boy reported the teacher and he was arrested; he was arraigned before court in Mukono Grade II Magistrates Court and Charles Kasidi, the magistrate, remanded him to Luzira until the 14th when this case will be brought back to court for mention.
I am holding The Weekly Observer of this week, Monday 27th to 29th Volume VI No.101 page 14. There is a headline on page 14 which says, Homosexuality Creeps into Primary Schools written by Diana Nabiruma. In that piece, Madam Speaker, four pupils from Umar B.A Islamic Centre have been expelled from school for practising homosexuality. Actually one of them was discovered with rotting anal orifice. This is becoming a pandemic and if we allow it to continue we are going to lose. And this makes me pose a question; where is this country going if we allow such acts to continue creeping amongst us.
In America, they call those who practice homosexual activity as straight people and there is an agenda now to overhaul this system. In fact, there is a book called Overhauling Straight America, which is a very serious agenda to turn America upside down and make everybody homosexual. I am afraid the strategy that they have developed in that book is already happening in this country and if we are not careful and if we continue to remain silent, we are going to be the losers! I could go on and give you the strategy, which they want to use but there is no time.
The forces behind homosexuality are not sleeping. They are working day and night and yet in this country we are leaving this struggle in the hands of a few people. Dr Martin Sempa has been acknowledged, Mr Steven Langa, Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi and other religious leaders. In our own House here, we have left it to hon. Dr Nsaba Buturo. We can no longer afford to be silent observers.
I would like to submit here that at a personal level, the struggle comes down to us. There is no neutral zone in this struggle especially if you are a parent and I know many of you are parents of young children. We need to inoculate our children against these practices. The problem is bigger than we think and diseases are escalating, diseases which we never knew before. There is anal Gonorrhoea which is now rampant, anal Syphilis, Hepatitis C which is transmitted by this practice.
Let me submit to the House that internationally there is a move to force every nation in the world to submit to this vice. And if we allow them to get away with it, we will be the sufferers. The UN is coming up with a political decision which will force every nation to legally recognise homosexuality. That is if what France is trying to sponsor in the UN is allowed to move. They are coming up with a law which makes it criminal for anybody to utter anything against homosexuals. That is coming!
In the commonwealth, which by the way Uganda chairs, on the 8th there was the 16th Commonwealth Law Conference in Hong Kong. This conference was dedicated to the issue of homosexuality and there were so many people who were supposed to be respected like hon. Justice Michael Kirby Ac Cmg - I do not know what it means - who is a Justice of the High Court of Australia, by the way he was also a one time President of International Commission of Jurists.
He submitted a paper entitled, Homosexual Law Reform: An Ongoing Blind Spot of the Commonwealth of Nations. In that paper, he was trying to promote homosexuality in the commonwealth. We have a problem on our hands and, further, I would not like to imagine what will happen if commonwealth decides to make homosexuality a legal thing, at a time when Uganda is the chair.
I have heard a few cowardly voices in the corridors which purport that if we do not support homosexuality, then Uganda stands to lose aid. Madam Speaker, I would like to say that we cannot afford to mortgage and sacrifice the future of our children on the altar of aid and that is why we have to stand firm. (Applause) We have oil and very soon Uganda will be a donor in real terms, and we can afford to do without aid if it is pegged to homosexuality.
In conclusion, I want to appeal for support for this motion and I would like to urge this House that we should not fear to act, but we should not act out of fear. We should sacrifice the present for the sake of the future. I thank you.
THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION (Prof. Morris Ogenga-Latigo): Thank you very much, Madam Speaker and I thank my colleagues, hon. Bahati and hon. Ogwal for their motion. I also would like to thank the House for the obvious unanimous support that we have for this matter.
I rise not to add much to what has been said, because the two hon. Members have given the substance and full justification for the motion. My job is first of all to thank them for this motion, to thank you, Madam Speaker, for insisting that it takes precedence even over the matter that was of concern to me. (Applause)
I would like to thank the very courageous Ugandans particularly the individuals who have been victims, who have sacrificed their own ego that normally stops many of us from standing up on matters of serious concern. We know as individuals and families we are deeply aggrieved and we share the pain that you have and the only thing we can do is first of all to do everything possible to ensure that this motion comes as a Bill and as law as quickly as possible.
MR OKUMU: Thank you. I want to inform the Leader of the Opposition that while he acknowledges other people, we should also acknowledge the Archbishop of Uganda, Luke Orombi, for walking away from the Church of England because of homosexuality.
PROF. OGENGA-LATIGO: Thank you. Actually I was coming to that because as the House knows, I am fairly well informed. In fact, the starting point for acknowledging the Archbishop Orombi and many other African Anglican Church leaders was going to start from the very same Observer newspaper that my colleague quoted. I read the newspaper with a whole page where they put two prominent Western people; one is an Anglican Bishop standing with his husband and below that picture was the picture of Sir Elton John, you know the man who sung Candle in the wind when Princess Diana died, with his husband. I was going to come to that and to say if it takes leaving the Church of England so that you can worship your God without the burden of accepting an evil like homosexuality, that would be the greatest thing and I believe that God would be on your side.
I bring the information that hon. Reagan gave me to say thank you very much to Archbishop Orombi and all his colleagues who have stood against homosexuality particularly when the mother Anglican Church began to accept this evil as part of rights, Gods will and I do not know what to say of those who support it. I would like to thank all the clergy men and women who have stood with us, all the politicians, all the civil leaders and I would like to move a motion that the question be put.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I put the question that the question be now put.
(Question put and agreed to.)
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I now put the question that this House do authorise the honourable member to move the Private Members Bill.
(Question put and agreed to.)
(Motion adopted.)
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR REGIONAL AFFAIRS (Mr Isaac Musumba): Thank you, Madam Speaker. You will have noticed that lately, both the electronic and print media have been awash with stories on Migingo Island. The dispute over this tiny rocky island of Migingo located in Lake Victoria has indeed caused rage in some sections of the Kenyan media which has created acrimony, tension, and rage among the local population. The electronic and print media have carried footages of errant Kenyan youth uprooting the railway line in Kibera slums in Nairobi and stories of aggression and territory grabbing and name calling have all been registered.
You are aware that His Excellency the President of Uganda directed that the Uganda flag be lowered at the island where it has been hoisted since 2004 in order to allow neutrality as we jointly undertake the survey and marking of the marine section of the Uganda-Kenya border including Migingo Island.
You will recall that Ugandas own story about Migingo Island has both a historical and territorial dimension. Historical because Uganda and our neighbour Kenya happen to have been under one colonial power and it is the colonial power therefore that was responsible for the border boundary between the two states. It is true that there are existing records between us as neighbouring states that describe the border. These documents which include the colonial records such as maps, survey notes, our national constitutions, and ordinances in counsel have all been found to describe the boundary. In other words, the actual boundary, particularly the marine section from latitude one degrees south and the tri-junction between Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya past Migingo Island up to Sio River lacks proper marking. At both the technical and political level, we have agreed that the survey and marking of this part of the border has to be carried out.
I would like the honourable members to note that bi-lateral consultations between the two countries have been taking place. This being at a technical level as well as at a political level, we also wish to note that just this morning, as on other occasions in the recent past, bi-lateral consultations at the head of state level took place in Arusha in the sidelines of the East African Community Summit.
The two countries agreed that the survey and marking of the border should proceed without further delay. This directive is being carried out and the joint technical teams are due to meet to launch the work plan.
The second aspect about Migingo which carries the territorial dimension is that Uganda moved to Migingo Island in 2004 after the rock had come to the surface as a result of the decline in the water levels of Lake Victoria. The intention of Uganda moving to the island was to check the smugglers and criminals who were using the rock as a stage to carry out their criminal activities on our territorial waters.
It was in 2004 that the Uganda Police Force established a hold on Migingo and since that time, law and order has been maintained effectively to date. Until 6.30 p.m. of Monday, 27 April 2009 the Uganda Flag has been flying on the island since 2004. I can report that local councils were established since that time with the RDC of Bugiri District taking care of them.
Madam Speaker, there are a number of points that need to be clarified. And these have continued to guide us as a country as we approach the issue of resolving the ownership of Migingo Island, and these are:
1.  The source of information to guide the process has been agreed upon. This is the Order in Council of 1926, which was issued by the colonial government and the constitutions of both countries.
2.  Methods of transferring the boundary description from the primary documents to the ground or on water have been agreed upon. These will entail the establishment of the actual coordinates starting with latitude one degree south and carrying out a joint remarking up to Sio River in Busia. Markers and buoys will be used on the waters to create clearly defined boundary lines as prescribed in the International Maritime Practice.
3.  The cost of the exercise has been agreed upon and work plans finalised.
4.  The timeframe for fixing this survey and markings had been agreed upon by the two parties unfortunately this timeframe is soon running out. So, there is need to agree on its extension. The ministers of both countries are due to meet to review the extension of the survey period.
In line with the above guidelines, a ministerial bilateral meeting was held at Munyonyo on 13 March 2009 and the communiqué was signed between the two parties. The implementation of the agreed upon areas is going on smoothly.
In pursuant of the main objective of finding a lasting solution to the Migingo ownership saga, Cabinet has approved a budget for the survey and marking of the marine section of the lake as the first phase of dealing with the border between Kenya and Uganda. It must be pointed out that the two parties are contributing the same amount of the money for the joint survey and marking exercise.
I also would like to address myself to the issue of the negative Kenyan media that has been rife with anti-Uganda rhetoric. We do appreciate the urgency to deliver the final position on who owns the island of Migingo, but we do not subscribe to the thinking that disrupting the trade between Uganda and Kenya and the supply route to the sea for all the neighbouring of East and Central African countries is the best way to achieve this result. These were simply acts of hooliganism, which must be condemned and checked as quickly as possible for they do not advance the cause for integration that we cherish.
Ugandas view is that both people on the divide need to be educated on the politics of co-existence and integration, which call for restraint and respect for one another.
The need to give correct and factual information to all our people is paramount. Therefore, there is no need for harassment from any quarter. The police chiefs of the two countries have met and agreed that law and order on the island should be maintained. Uganda will deal decisively with anybody who attempts to disrupt law and order on the island especially during this critical period for the survey and marking of the border.
Madam Speaker, Uganda and Kenya will continue to work both at the political and technical levels to establish the correctness of the information that now is in our docket; this is being done. The parties will work jointly to translate all that is descriptive in the primary documents and put it on the ground or on water within the agreed timeframe. The technical teams are capable of establishing a clear position, but they need a conducive atmosphere under which to operate.
The government is, therefore, not on a war path with Kenya. This has not featured at all in all what we have been doing with our neighbours. It is our plea that the media in both capitals allow this exercise to continue, to obtain a lasting solution. This will enable the people of the two countries and other members of the East African region to go about their normal duties without the scaremongering that has been registered so far. Madam Speaker, I beg to state.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Okay, let us have hon. Amongi after which we will listen to hon. Okello, hon. Okupa and so on; but three minutes each.
MS BETTY AMONGI (Independent, Woman Representative, Apac): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I will later, after the debate, move a motion on this matter  (Interjections) no, if you want to guide, I can move the motion so that both are debated concurrently. I do not know what your guidance is.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I do not know whether the motion is still necessary in view of what has transpired. Do you still think it is?
MS AMONGI: Yes, Madam Speaker.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Okay, speak about it.
MS AMONGI: I move and speak about it?
MS AMONGI: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I rise to move that the House considers (Interruption)
MR MUSUMBA: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of procedure so that you can guide us. A ministerial statement has been made  I know that under our rules a ministerial statement may be debated because it attracts debate, but I thought that the first phase would be the debate. And if there is reason for anybody to believe that the motion is necessary, they move it after that debate. To do so now, Madam Speaker, by only considering the position of the government ministerial statement along with the private Members motion 
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, I only asked her to speak about the issue in her motion, not to move it. Let her speak about them and if they convince Members, she can later on move a motion.
MS AMONGI: Thank you, Madam Speaker. One is that this issue has generated a lot of unease especially in terms of the impact being felt by Ugandans living in Kenya. I think we have a right to protect our citizens in that country. We also have a right to appeal to our fellow comrades in Kenya like the parliamentarians; the leaders who have been making these statements, to appeal to them on the subject matter.
I want to cite a few of the statements that have been made by prominent leaders in Kenya: the Commissioner for Nyanza Province, Paul Olando, speaking on the BBCs Focus on Africa already accused Uganda of trespass. The Fisheries Minister of Kenya, Paul Otuoma said, Kenya will not secede an inch.
The Prime Minister of Kenya had earlier told Parliament that the question of the island is not a contest and that the island belonged to Kenya. Former President Moi has made a statement that the island belongs to Kenya.
A series of leaders, including parliamentarians, have stated and made a position that the island belongs to Kenya. The motion I intend to move later on is to appeal to both governments and leaderships to first accept the need to agree that there is a need for a demarcation or a need for a technical team to ascertain whether or not the island belongs to Kenya.
I will also appeal, in the spirit of regional integration, that there is need for both leaderships to guide the population to prepare their minds to accept the outcome of the investigation by the joint technical committee because as it is now, it is true that it is a prejudiced position in Kenya that Migingo Island belongs to Kenya. And so, in the event that it is found to belong to Uganda, what will be the reaction of the charged leadership and the charged population if they are not guided?A System Error Occur. Please reload page