Members of Parliament have been tasked to live an exemplary life by prioritiosing national interests against their individual needs as they legislate in Parliament. Speaking at an Induction Seminar for Members of the 10th Parliament at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala on 28th June 2016, Hon. Francis Ole Kaparo, the former Speaker of the Kenya National Assembly said legislators must represent the needs and aspirations of the nation.
Hon. Kaparo urged MPs to embrace changes in their roles as they serve in Parliament. “The role of the Parliamentarian in your times stands beyond the traditional roles, which have hitherto prevailed. You, the Parliamentarian, have been thrust into a calling, not a job, not a profession, not a career,” Hon. Kaparo noted.
Citing his 15-year experience as Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Kaparo warned MPs against grading their job as an ordinary career shift. “The hopes and aspirations of millions of Ugandans lie squarely in your hands. While it may seem an onerous task, it is not beyond your capabilities. Leadership is a calling. Elections are means through which this calling is actualized,” he told MPs.
The former Speaker also warned MPs against missing sittings of Plenary and Committees of the House. He equated this to abuse of privilege and cheating of tax payers resources. He called for naming and shaming of Members who make technical or cursory appearances.
“Time is money. Parliaments cannot and should never waste or mismanage time. This is one omission that many committees make and many witnesses summoned have complained bitterly about,” he added.
Legislators were also tasked to maintain decorum and desist from having cross exchanges with committee witnesses.
Ugandan legislator, Hon. Wilfred Niwagaba, who discussed the presentation on Parliamentary Practice and Procedure, urged MPs to learn and use the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure and the Constitution. He warned them against engaging in acts forbidden by the Rules lest they forfeit their seats in Parliament.