Kampala, Uganda – AWEPA facilitated learning workshops for Members of the Ugandan Parliament on 3-4 and 12-13 August 2016. As part of its support, AWEPA provided experts in parliamentary capacity building and a platform through which the induction training was conducted.
The workshops targeted members of the Gender, Labour and Social Development Committee, and the Committee for Public Service and Local Government. Throughout the workshops, these members were provided valuable information on their mandate and procedures.
The decision to focus the training on parliamentary committees was based on the opportunities these committees provided for in-depth analysis, making it possible for MPs, and ultimately parliament itself, to perform their core legislative, oversight and representative functions. The purpose of parliamentary committees is mainly to conduct inquiries into specified matters that include taking submissions, hearing witnesses, examining evidence, discussing matters in detail and formulating reasoned conclusions. Committees are a convenient vehicle for this activity and, by concentrating on specific tasks or subjects, also offer the benefits of specialisation.
The training was delivered to the committee members through a series of presentations on various topics, including the operations of the respective committees and their in promoting democratic governance.
At the end of each session, the members were invited to participate in an interactive plenary session, which proved beneficial, particularly to new MPs particularly, who were voted into parliament in the general elections in February 2016.
The induction ended on a high note, with participants drafting a list of recommendations and forging a way forward for the committees to deliver effectively on their mandate.
The Ugandan General Election, held on 18th February 2016, saw a significant number of incumbents in 9th Parliament losing their seats. With a turnover of about 83%, the 10th Parliament has a significant number of new MPs in the youth age bracket.
This high turnover risks undermining the institutional growth of the Ugandan Parliament mainly due to loss of experienced and professional MPs and time it takes to train new MPs in legislative processes.
In response to this risk, the Parliamentary Commission, through the Institute of Parliamentary Studies (IPS), called for the induction training for members of two parliamentary committees, namely the Gender, Labour and Social Development Committee, and the Committee for Public Service and Local Government.