Dear Legislators, some of you are focusing already on your re-election campaigns and are busy dishing out ambulances and the like; and are self-congratulating yourselves for being for the people. As you are focused on that which is not your role, your negligence of your role is causing major strife among us the people.
The Right Honourable Speaker Jacob Oulanyah instructed you to do research and to base your submissions in parliament on evidence, including numbers and statistics for which the source is known and can be fact checked. Well, some of you might have misunderstood the Speaker.
Source: Daily Monitor
Legislators, you need not carryout your own primary data collection. The main gist of the Speaker’s instruction was more towards institutionalising a norm in parliament of legislators finding out what relevant research has already been done on the subject in discussion and to familiarise with all sides of the arguments for and against a particular position.
So, for example, a good starting point for legislators is to find and to read peered reviewed policy briefs that have been authored in a manner that meets high academic standards.
Case in point, as we discuss the traumatizing and tragic events of murders in Karamoja, in Masaka, and elsewhere in our country, and in dealing with victims and survivors, an important policy brief that legislators should read is:
“Justice and Peace after war – Conceptual difficulties in the discourses of Transition and Reform”, by Dr. Laury Lawrence Ocen, published as “Makerere Institute of Social Research Policy Brief No. 4.,” in October 2015, Makerere University.
In the brief, Dr. Ocen presents a valid argument against the tendency to focus on a criminal settlement and to claim success when we have identified and punished the offender. He points out that in many cases the lines are not clear cut and the one labeled the “the offender” could actually also be among “the victims” and vice versa.
Furthermore, in the brief, Dr. Ocen does present a solid argument for us to adopt the culture of emphasising resolution through a “political settlement”; and which leads to “political justice” – reparation, truth telling, open accountability, and reconciliation.
Indeed, the search for “political justice” should be the focus of the ongoing discussions surrounding the “no bail law”.
Sadly, some of you, legislators, are just there and not taking those discussions seriously, but, be warned, in the longer-term the potential of such a bad law to bite you too is high.