The universally accepted objective means of verification for evaluating the
performance of members of parliament (MPs), in all their roles – representation,
oversight, appropriation and legislation, is the quality of their participation
in plenary debate. It is during plenary debates that legislation and other
decisions of parliament are passed, and documented in the Hansard.
Another performance measure are the legislation and decisions made by
Parliament; which official record of them is the Hansard. Having no record in
the Hansard of an MP speaking during plenary, as 64 MPs reportedly did not
speak in plenary for a 12-month period, should be an issue of great concern.
That an MP doesn’t speak at all during plenary is a good indicator of the MP’s
abdication of their primary major role.
Therefore, with all its weakness and faults, the African Leadership Institute Scorecard is the best measurement tool, there is in Uganda for measuring the performance of MPs.
“To generate the scorecard, we study the records for example of attendance. We readDavid Pulkol, Director of African Leadership Institute quoted by The Independent
the entire attendance record of the year and establish how many times each MP
was present or absent and why. We also look at participation; what contribution
did a particular MP make in a particular debate? We also consider the amount of
influence the person may have exerted to determine the quality of his
arguments. For example, who or how many people referred to your point in the
ensuing debate or was it of no consequence? Whom did you lobby in pursuit of a
particular Bill? The scorecard brings out the movers and shakers of business in
the House. We do this at the committees and other levels up to the district
council meetings where MPs from the district are ex-officials.”
Since we have a large parliament of 500 plus members of parliament, let there
be a ‘plenary speaking chat’ which ensures that each legislator gets the
opportunity to speak during plenary at least once a year. If we can do so for
their swearing in ceremony, then it is feasible. Even tasks such as
presentation of committee reports can be distributed to multiple members and
not only one committee member reading the report.
Alternatively, reduce the size of parliament by at least half its current
size. This would be the better solution in fact, which will also ensure the
reduction of the cost of Parliament.