Uganda Watch: Parliament Passes Oil Bill in Stealth Session

Earlier in the week, Parliament spokeswoman Helen Kawesa told me that Parliament would not meet today (Friday). There is no order paper at the Parliament website. However, the MPs did meet and passed an oil bill that gives much power to the executive branch. Blogger Jim Burroway alerted me to this fact and Reuters has the details:

KAMPALA, Dec 7 (Reuters) – Ugandan lawmakers passed new legislation on Friday meant to regulate the country’s emerging oil sector but critics said the law would invest too much control in the hands of the executive.

The Reuters’ report highlights the lack of transparency which the bill allows.

Burroway believes the Anti-Homosexuality Bill will now distract the MPs and the public away from the bad oil legislation. He believes this is by design and directed by President Museveni’s executive branch. The clearest effect of the action on the oil bill is that it moves the Anti-Homosexuality Bill closer to consideration on the floor. Burroway may be correct when he argues that the anti-gay bill will generate so much attention that most will forget about the power grab just completed by the executive branch with the collusion of the ruling party in Parliament.  It is not that the executive branch actually wants the bill to pass. However, it may be that generating loud controversy over the bill is the real aim.

However, those in Parliament who do want the bill to pass are a step closer to their objective now that the oil bill is out of the way.