Parliament has inaugurated the first board for the Institute of Parliamentary Studies. The Board chaired by Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Atim Ogwal will also have MPs Anna Adeke Ebaju, Gulu Municipality MP Lyandro Komakech, Isingiro South MP Alex Byarugaba Bakunda, Justine Niwagaba and Dr Stella Kyohairwe.
The institute attained a semi-autonomous status, after the enactment of a law establishing an institute named after the current Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga. The act was gazetted in May last year.
The institute will operate as an agency of the government under the supervision and control of the Parliamentary Commission. It is expected to, among others, conduct training of Members of Parliament and Staff, in Uganda and elsewhere in the world, as well as training for local government officials.
Before the enactment of the law, the institute was just an organ created under the Administration of Parliament Act. Kadaga is optimistic that the quality of debate and leadership skills in Parliament will improve as the institute takes charge to induct the incoming team of legislators.
Kadaga said that since the Institute was facilitated under the Parliamentary Commission as a department and will continue to be financed under the same arrangement. The institute is also one of the government entities receiving funding from the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) whose activities, President Yoweri Museveni recently sought to be suspended.
Cecilia Ogwal said that the journey to elevate the institute to a semi-autonomous body started in 2012 when the Parliamentary Commission sought to provide specialized in-house systematic training in various processes of parliament. She said that the Institute is intended to equip MPs, staff and local councillors with skills and knowledge to effectively deliver on their mandate.
Since the financial year 2018/2019, the Institute has trained a total of 40 female committee leaders, inducted 50 newly elected MPs, trained 316 MPs and committee staff, 673 parliamentary staff, trained 14,234 local council leaders, and trained 164 MPs from other parliaments including Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia and Namibia and others.
The Vice-Chairperson of the Institute’s outgoing Steering Committee, Swizin Kinger Mugyema, said that the high attrition rates of MPs affects built capacity. He tasked the new board to develop a 5-year strategic plan for the Institute, strengthen partnership with Local Governments for enhanced capacity building of local councils, securing independent premises of the Institute, recruitment of competent staff and others.