The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Thomas Tayebwa, and the Prime Minister, Ms Robinah Nabbanja, have advised the new government Chief Whip in Parliament, Mr Denis Hanson Obua, to respect and work with Opposition lawmakers.
Mr Obua, the former State minister for Sports, was appointed by President Museveni last month, replacing Mr Tayebwa.
Speaking yesterday at the handover ceremony at Parliament, Mr Tayebwa said Mr Obua should cooperate with the Opposition because it made work smooth for him during his tenure.
“My piece of advice is to work very well and respect the Opposition in the House. It is not a competition of who should win. We were able to pass the oil Bill because of that. The Leader of the Opposition came to my office three times because I respected him and he knew I would also walk to his office anytime I needed him,” Mr Tayebwa said.
“It is very important when two sides coordinate other than tussling it on the floor, which sometimes ends up being ugly. The moment you do work very well, it will be very easy to work it out. I would advise you to meet the LoP and the Opposition chief whip and regularly work together,” he added.
Mr Tayebwa also asked Mr Obua to go slow on Members of Parliament when it comes to legislation.
“How will you invoke a rule on an MP like Fox Odoi? Will you say I will chase you from Parliament? You are not the one who voted for them. These colleagues, the moment you are humble, they will tell you their secrets,” Mr Tayebwa said.
“I have known these colleagues. Give them a chance to express themselves. Instead of coming to force something on MPs, let the ministers come and explain themselves. The MPs will understand what they are passing. It will become a problem if you just force them to vote yes,” he added.
Mr Obua said it’s not going to be business as usual because all people will be required to work on his speed to deliver.
“To the staff who will be working with me, I want to put you on notice. You are the engine of the three arms of the government and for us, we are the body. If you have been jogging, it is time for you to start running. If you have been running, it is time for you to start sprinting. I will never ever compromise. I am an old man who is young, so please let’s accept to work within my speed,” Mr Obua said.
“I will not allow anybody to attempt to lead me to a side I do not belong to. I belong to the winning side. Please facilitate us to work. I believe in rules. Accept me the way I am coming. Where I need to whip you, I have been given a whipping stick,” he added.
Ms Nabbanja expressed confidence in Mr Obua and asked him to embrace teamwork.
“It is my absolute belief and conviction that we are going to form a formidable team that is going to drive the government legislative agenda in Parliament to another level,” Ms Nabbanja said.
“I ask you [Obua] to build a culture of teamwork and have respect for one another. I know you are an experienced cadre, but learning does not end. It is gradual,” she added.
Ms Nabbanja said the government is expected to take lead in the processing of the 62 Bills that President Museveni outlined during the State of the Nation Address in June, stating that out of those, 14 have been presented on the floor of Parliament.
President Museveni last month made a number of changes in his Cabinet, Mr Obua was replaced by Mr Peter Ogwanga, who is slated to receive the same office today.