Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has notified Members of Parliament (MPs) that starting next week, they will be required to present COVID-19 vaccination cards to attend sittings.
Among made the statement during her communication to MPs during the Thursday 28th, October 2021 afternoon plenary sitting.
She noted that legislators need to lead by example so that the citizens are encouraged to take up the COVID-19 vaccines.
This is the second time that the leadership in Parliament is making a communication in regard to coronavirus vaccination and a requirement for legislators to attend sittings.
In August, the Parliament Director of Communication and Public Affairs, Chris Obore told journalists that MPs who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus would not be allowed to attend Parliament sittings.
This statement came when MPs were then on a working recess to assess the impact of the Emyooga program in their constituencies, and parliament was planning to resume sittings in the Chamber that has a capacity of only 100 Members of Parliament, and abandon using tents.
Obore then said that when sittings resume, only fully vaccinated MPs with certificates would be allowed access to avoid COVID-19 infections.
“We are going to resume using the Chamber because we don’t want to keep spending money on tents. All members will have to be vaccinated to attend sittings to avoid infections,” he said.
Obore also said that Parliament was to discuss with different political party whips so that their members attend plenary sittings in shifts due to the limited space in the Chamber and to also ensure social distancing.
He also then said that Parliament staff and journalists must be fully vaccinated.
The Eleventh Parliament has a total of 529 Members of Parliament and legislators were among the first categories who were considered to receive COVID-19 vaccines. The parliamentary staff and journalists reporting from Parliament have since been receiving the vaccination.
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As one of the ways to ensure social distancing and also curb the spread of the virus, Parliament last year shifted the sittings from the Chamber to the Parliament parking lot under a tent.
The tent could host more than 300 legislators, but parliament sittings have since left the temporary chamber and according to Obore, the institution could not continue paying for the tents due to high costs.
Parliament was paying 8.5 million Shillings daily for the tent hire.
Meanwhile, Kasilo County MP Elijah Okupa raised concern on the floor of parliament regarding the sell of Covid-19 vaccination cards by health workers to people who have not been vaccinated.
The Deputy Speaker directed MP Okupa to disclose details of the forged COVID-19 vaccination cards to the Minister of Security Jim Muhwezi so that the matter is immediately taken up.