Parliament is reviewing its Standing Orders to modify the amount of time lawmakers spend deliberating various issues in the House after noting that a lot of hours are lost to recess.
The Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament has been tasked with the review process, which is supposed to take place every year, but has not been done since 2013, chairperson of the committee Peter Chakhwantha has told The Nation.
According to Standing Order Six, Parliament sits from 2pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, 9.30am to 12.30pm on Fridays while on the remaining days MPs sit for three hours in the morning then two hours in the afternoon.
There are two thirty-minute breaks apart from a 90-minute lunch break on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Chakhwantha said the number of members of Parliament (MPs) has increased since 1994 and the set times for each day’s sitting is no longer adequate to cater to all member and government issues.
“We have noted that with 193 members and if we keep on meeting as scheduled, most MPs do not contribute to the deliberations. It is the committee’s suggestion that among other things, we should forego the midday adjournment on Friday,” he said.
The committee would also like to give private members, who are the opposite of the government, an extra day to bring issues to the House.
Further, the committee is expected to recommend that Wednesdays and Thursdays should be designated private members’ days.
The committee will also address attendance issues which have cropped up in the just-ended nine weeks budget meeting after the Speaker Richard Msowoya noted the erratic attendance of sittings and committee meetings.
Standing Orders provide for MPs to take leave from the Speaker if they will not be able to attending daily sittings but the frequency or penalties to be meted out if a member contravenes these regulations is not specified in Parliamentary rules and procedures.