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Rules Committee Tasked to Pave Way for Virtual Parliament

She tasked the committee chaired by Kalaki County MP Clement Ongalo Obote to pick lessons from the parliaments of Albania, Brazil, Columbia and the United Kingdom and others to ensure that legislative work is not disrupted as coronavirus disease rages on.
Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga chairing the afternoon plenary session.

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The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has directed the Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee to commence a process of amending the rules of procedure to help them proceed to a virtual parliament amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Kadaga made the instruction this afternoon stating that operations of parliaments across the world are currently challenged since legislators cannot meet physically, as one of the measures to control the spread of coronavirus disease COVID -19.

She tasked the committee chaired by Kalaki County MP Clement Ongalo Obote to pick lessons from the parliaments of Albania, Brazil, Columbia and the United Kingdom and others to ensure that legislative work is not disrupted as coronavirus disease rages on.

Kadaga said that since no one knows how long the coronavirus crisis will take, there was a need for the rules to be amended immediately to aid Parliament to proceed with work even when MPs can’t meet in committee rooms and the Chamber.

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The Speaker also encouraged MPs to register for the virtual parliament immediately with the Parliament Department of Information, Communication and Technology. Last week, Kadaga revealed that all Members of Parliament would undergo training in video conferencing aimed at enhancing communication during the period when the country is observing Covid-19 guidelines.

She said that the Office of the Clerk to Parliament together with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Ministry of Information, Communications Technology and National Guidance had arranged initial video conferencing services. 

Kadaga then invited MPs to register with the Parliament Information Technology Department and enrol for the services to enable them participate in the proceedings of the House electronically during this time when the Parliament building cannot accommodate all MPs.

Since Uganda registered its first positive case of coronavirus disease, a month ago, sections of the public have embraced virtual collaboration to foster continuity of programmes amid the lockdown that has affected the day to day lifestyles and routines of work. 

Many Ugandans are now using zoom, Telegram, GoTo Meeting, and Skype, among others, to engage with colleagues from wherever they are, in the comfort of their homes, in offices, and even those on the move. All one needs is a smartphone or a computer with active internet to launch a meeting. The tools have now been embraced by churches, government entities, Rotary groups, and a variety of organizations.

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