By Keefa Nuwahereza
Health experts in Uganda contend that Parliament is currently operating illegally and in breach of President Yoweri Museveni’s directives on maintaining social distance, as a way of mitigating the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
President Museveni has throughout all his national addresses about Coronavirus banned gatherings of more than five people and reiterated the Ministry of Health guideline of maintaining social distance as one of ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
However, experts contend that despite the presidential directives above, Parliamentarians still hold sittings in the August House, during which they don’t maintain the required social distance, something that put the their lives and those of their voters at high risk.
It is for that reason that some health experts on the National COVID-19 Taskforce want Parliament to implement President Museveni’s Directives by suspending all business until the lockdown is lifted.
The experts argue that Parliament’s continued sittings pose a huge health risk not only to MPs but also Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, plus several Ministers who are usually invited to address queries on certain matters as and when they arise.
It should be noted that in his eighth address about Coronavirus, during which he closed down government offices, companies and factories, Museveni did not name Parliament as one of the essential services needed during the lockdown. Some of the essential service providers he said cannot close are those providing utilities like water, power, then the Banking Sector and Health Services providers.
Indeed, as a way of reducing on the risks of spreading Coronavirus through mass gatherings, Parliament has since announced that it will scale down on the number of legislators that attend a particular plenary sittings to only 100, out of the total 426 MPs.
So far, several MPs who are suspected to be carrying the deadly COVID-19 have since been sent into self-isolation, while others have been banned from attending Parliament until the Ministry of Health declares them free of Coronavirus.
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