MPs Warn Police Ahead of Petroleum Bill Demo

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In short
Legislators who are planning a demonstration over the petroleum, exploration production and development bill have warned police against blocking the public from accessing parliament.

Legislators who are planning a demonstration over the petroleum, exploration production and development bill have warned police against blocking the public from accessing parliament.

The MPs on Friday announced that they will invite members of the public to come and witness the parliamentary proceedings of the debate on the bill and see how their representatives are betraying them but have been told that police is set to stop them.

The MPs said that parliament is a public place which should be accessed by everybody so there is no reason why the public can’t come and witness how they are represented by the people they elect.

In particular, they argue that re-committing clause 9 of the bill, which gives the minister for energy more powers over oil activities, will be betraying the public by giving powers to one person instead of an institution of government.

Butambala woman MP Mariam Nalubega said that if the re-committal of the clause is in the interest of the public there shouldn’t be any reason why people should be barred from witnessing the proceedings.

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They say that they have seen ministers misusing their positions in the country and therefore they cannot risk that happening in the oil sector as well.

Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo says that the clause was sorted already and therefore sees no reason of fighting over it again. But he said the MPs will be steadfast with the support of their electorates who have a right to access their parliament.

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He appealed to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga not to let down the Ugandans that have a lot of faith in her  to handle the issue appropriately. He urged her not to spoil the issue that her deputy Jacob Oulanya had started well.

The other members were Rwampara MP Vincent Kyamadidi, Western Region youth MP Gerald Karuhanga, Busiro South MP Joseph Balikuddembe and Butambala MP Muwanga Kivumbi.

Parliament is expected o take a vote on clause 9 on which the minister asked for re-committal. The re-committal is to have the minister negotiate petroleum agreements, grant and revoke the licenses.

The MPs had earlier proposed that these roles go to the petroleum authority and the minister only approves.