The Opposition has failed to form a formidable force to hold government accountable due to inflexibility by government.
In a communique issued at the end of a five day benchmarking workshop held in Abuja, Nigeria, Opposition MPs observed that it remained difficult to actively ensure consensus in terms of policies and issues raised by the Opposition in the House.
The MPs who attended the benchmarking workshop included the Leader of the Opposition, Winfred Kiiza (FDC, Kasese district); the Chairperson, Public Accounts Committee,. Angelline Osegge (FDC, Soroti district); Silas Aogon (Ind., Kumi Munic); Santa Alum (UPC, Oyam district); Fred Tumuheirwe (FDC, Rujumbura); the Shadow Minister for Internal Affairs, . Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi (DP, Butambala) and. Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka Munic.).
The MPs were concerned of the difficulties in meeting the expectations of the constituents’ vis-à-vis effectiveness in Parliament.
“There is need for strategic consensus building and enhanced relationship between the Opposition parties in and out of Parliament in order to form a common front,” reads part of the communiqué.
It added, “There is need to strengthen communication between Opposition MPs and their leadership for the purpose of strategic planning.”
The workshop was held at the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) in Abuja, Nigeria from September 18 – 22, 2017. The purpose of the workshop was to strengthen the capacities of the Opposition in Parliament in undertaking oversight of government programmes/projects and offer a better alternative to the citizens.
MPs resolved to advocate and sponsor Bills and policies to provide alternatives and ensure dividends of democracy to the people of Uganda. They also resolved to improve the relationship between the Opposition parties, the civil society organisations and the media;
It was also agreed that there was need to prioritize and streamline the message packaging to sell to Ugandans, in line with their peculiarities and yearnings; and to ensure regular and continuous capacity building programmes for Opposition MPs in order to strengthen capacities and sustain effectiveness.
Participants also said that there was need to develop alternative strategies to tackle the myriad of problems in Uganda; and to continuously build the capacity and effectiveness of the Public Accounts Committee, which has the statutory mandate to provide oversight and ensure accountability by government.
Presenting a paper on ‘Managing Effective Communication by the Opposition,’ Dr. Ahmed Rufai Alkali urged the members to be sure and discuss party matters with only those persons they trust to avoid giving out their methods or tactics to their competitors. He advised the legislators not to allow their competitors to know or even predict their actions or programmes.