A lot has been said about the August house; the Parliament of Uganda, over the past few days. In fact, even before this, many schools of thought advanced the allegation that the quality of the people and debate in the Ugandan Parliament has deteriorated over the years. For purposes of clarity and insight, last week, I took some time off to attend and keenly follow some of the sessions in the August House. While I must admit the sessions in the 9th Parliament are lacking in more ways than one, I must also add that there is plenty of potential in that place. You see, unlike other doomsday prophets and pessimists out there, I chose to focus on the positives in the Parliament. Seeing as there were few of those, I decided to think up ways in which we could make our Parliament better.
I therefore come before you my dear friends with a proposal for recommendations that we could adopt to make the August house more robust, more accountable and certainly more interesting.
Research has shown that music has the capacity to improve brain activity, better understanding and generally lift moods. While it is admirable that MPs are keen to deliver legislation with utmost meticulousness, one must appreciate that without inspiration these attempts will always be futile. When you hear some MPs speak, you can literally feel the lack of inspiration and desire. I propose that the Speaker of Parliament orders a 10 Minute music break every after an hour. During this music break, MPs can either do Karaoke to refresh their brains or a DJ Mix can be thrown in to get the blood of the MPs flowing. With these music breaks, it is highly likely that fewer MPs will be missing out on sessions. And who knows, we might discover one or two musicians whose talents were hiding behind the title of MP.
Parliament could give us a real superstar
Any and every workplace will thrive when the workers are happy. When you see some MPs take to the floor of parliament, you can read it in their faces that the suits they are wearing are nothing but a pain. Why should we force these Honourable MPs to feel uncomfortable while legislating? Let’s allow for theme days when they can alter their dress code. For instance we can have Short Skirt Tuesday, Old School Wednesday, No Panty Thursday and the good old Casual Friday. With these theme days you can be sure that Parliament will not only be more colourful but also more interesting. Some MPs have never worn suits their whole lives and the only time they wore suits was during the swearing in. Why should you force such MPs to suddenly wear suits every day? Allow them to stay in their comfort zones by permitting theme days.
Just a thought
Every now and again you will hear certain MPs exchanging fierce words not just on the floor of parliament but even within the corridors and in the press. Why don’t we introduce Arena days where the floor is cleared of furniture and aggrieved MPs are given rudimentary weapons so they can have a go at each other in physical battles? We cannot escape from the fact that human beings are naturally inclined to not like those who disagree with them. Instead of going around spreading false and often malicious rumours about their colleagues, why don’t aggrieved MPs take it up with each other during the Arena Days? This would reduce politicking and it would help MPs stay in shape as each one will be hitting the gym in preparation for when another MP decides it is time to take things down with them in the Arena.
The birth of the MPs fight club
Without necessarily naming names, it has become apparent that some MPs are as clueless about their duties as men are about the pain of childbirth. How about the Speaker of Parliament launching a periodical Pop Quiz where she asks random MPs questions about their own country. For instance, what colours are on the national flag or how many districts are in this sovereign country? You see, many MPs are busy clamouring for things left right and centre but forget simple facts about their country. Would it not help if they knew that anytime there could be a pop quiz? I am sure they would always be on their toes trying to read and stock up on much needed knowledge. The results of the periodical pop quiz can then be compiled to determine whether or not one gets allowances for the month.
In life, most of the mistakes we make are punishable by some kind of regret. While this is supposed to be the general rule, MPs seem to fall outside of this bracket. These guys make quite a number of mistakes but never really pay for them – instead it is the bulk of the population that pays for these mistakes. Well, I suggest that MPs begin to take blame and start getting punished for the mistakes they make. Using wrong English on the floor of parliament, lying to the electorate, making up excuses for shoddy work, failure to show up for sessions, noise making, going off-topic during discussions and having too many bank loans to one’s name are among the mistakes that would elicit punishments. The punishments can vary from withholding or docking one’s salary to a few days behind closed walls or in a prison cell.
Occasionally we can have some whips here and there
Finally and probably most importantly, we ought to reduce the size of the goddam Parliament! How the heck do we have 375 MPs all seated under one roof, presumably discussing issues of national importance and we still expect results? The first Parliament (Legislative Council) of 1962 had just 92 members. How and why this number rocketed to 375 is something that baffles everyone – incuding the MPs themselves. It is a crowd in there! I pity speaker Rebecca Kadaga who somehow has to keep track of all these names. It is a miracle that she has not lost her mind yet. It is true that politics is a game of numbers and this is why each party wants to have as many MPs in parliament as possible. However, too much money is going into catering for these MPs. Also, discussions usually get swallowed up by irrelevant and often diversionary submissions simply because there is plenty of quantity and very little in terms of quality. Let’s have fewer MPs and then money that is saved in the process can then be channelled to more constructive things like putting up a cinema hall in Parliament or setting up a swimming pool so that the few MPs who remain feel the respect, pomp and prestige that an MP ought to feel.
We shall soon need the police for Crowd control in Parliament.
I beg to move.
“Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.” —Will Rogers
The Talkative Rocker
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