The Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah accompanied by the Chief Opposition Whip, Hon John Baptiste Nambeshe and Clerk to Parliament, Hon Adolf Mwesige Kasaija has met the USAID Uganda Mission Director, Richard Nelson with revival of mutual cooperation high on the agenda.
The meeting bore into the 11th Parliament’s agenda, with Oulanyah stressing the need to abandon empty rhetoric and have in its place policies that matter in the day to day lives of ordinary Ugandans.
Oulanyah said the most important area that will aid in the realisation of that agenda is strengthening oversight, and raising the bar of its nature, to include value for money and impact audits that examine the extent to which real lives got transformed as a result of policies implemented.
“If we strengthen oversight and accountability, this will bring clarity [in accountability] and a strong signal will be sent to the people who actually engage in corruption,” he said adding that, ‘when we audit, we also want to say yes, this is the receipt for the procurements to do such and such an activity, but we must find out how ordinary lives changed as a result of that’. To this end, he asked the USAID to remodel the nature of training they give to legislators to be of specific relevance to the tasks they handle.
Human rights and good governance trainings, he said, which have been of concern to donors and international partners may not be of direct relevance to how MPs will pass the budget, how to efficiently and thoroughly process accountability.
Nelson said the international development agency is keen on renewing partnerships with Parliament to engender better health, education and security.
“Uganda is the 10th largest USAID mission in the world with a budget of over US$450 million; we fund a lot on health, education and the civil society,” he said. Parliament political processes, he said, is a program the agency is keen to partner with Parliament on. He said currently, there is already an ongoing training of women Parliamentarians.
Nambeshe rooted for the training of opposition legislators who are charged with the responsibility of running oversight committees of Parliament arguing that many are new to Parliament and will need some grounding on the work of the legislature.
Clerk to Parliament Adolf Mwesige welcomed the partnership, saying Parliament is ready and will commit to strengthening it. “We are going to identify what we have discussed and condense them into action points; it can’t be business as usual; accountability must go beyond papers, to value for money and actual impact,” he said.