The Parliament administration has indefinitely suspended the operations of Rebecca Alitwala Institute of Parliamentary Studies (RAKIPS) pending a decision by the Parliamentary Commission expected to sit this month (October).
According to a letter by Clerk to Parliament, Adolf Mwesige, to the Executive Director of RAKIPS, Charles Bwine, the institute is suspended due to alleged financial irregularities and illegalities.
The institute is a one-stop specialized resource center for the training and capacity building of staff and members of parliament as well as local council leaders and other legislatures who may come from other countries.
The institute was established by law as a semi-autonomous body about one and a half years ago though it had started in 2012 as a department in Parliament (Institute of Parliamentary Studies). Many parliamentarians and other leaders have gone through it with laudable results.
There is also a claim that the institute’s activities collide with plenary sessions which affects parliamentary sittings. However, one would think that such activities need to be planned better.
In any political setting, directing leaders towards a strategy to meet society’s needs is key. In today’s situation where even members of parliament fail to adhere to a fairly strict dress code, challenges are arising and questions raised over the agility of our Members of Parliament.
The costs of poor leadership are toxic since leaders are expected to influence the attitudes and behavior of communities. Good leaders are therefore secure in their role and in their ability to do their jobs after acquiring knowledge and understanding in a number of areas including; House rules and procedures, passing laws, scrutinizing content and implementation of policies and Government accountability as well as conducting constructive debates.
This does not concern Members of Parliament only but also other political leaders for the sake of equipping them with the ability to assess problems, manage situations, and provide sensible solutions for a country like Uganda which is striving to even up the middle-income status pitch.
Many countries conduct parliamentary training programmes of members of the House primarily to orient them into appropriate parliamentary practice and procedures for the required skills to do Chamber and Committee work. However, in some countries, a variety of resources are targeted. In the USA, for example, the Congressional Management Foundation provides an assortment of resources and training to incoming Members of Congress and their staff under the New Member Resource Center. This not only helps Members-Elect successfully transition to Congress but also imparts them with an overview of the breadth of their new job, while offering a foundation for assessing performance in the future on areas of; standard representation, legislation, investigation, management, politics, collaboration and leadership.
Today, great leaders are scarce because politicians aren’t getting the guidance they need before they’re placed in leadership roles. This is why most of them are inconsistent with the visions, values, and strategies of most political systems; some to beat odds and for others to conquer their rough background.
The Rebecca Alitwala Institute of Parliamentary Studies (RAKIPS) is not a personal venture by the former Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, who now doubles as the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Affairs. Its name went through the Parliamentary Committee for approval, a system which the current Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah was part of. The opening of this institute was not outside the rules but created by an Act through Parliament.
The administration at Parliament should give RAKIPS a second thought to help a newly elected businessman, farmer and any other of the sort get a chance to orient themselves with the mannerism of doing legislative work.
f such leaders of diverse backgrounds are left unattended, without doubt they won’t achieve the desired impact and effectiveness. Providing leaders with training is therefore paramount if systems are to bring them one step closer to reaching structural goals in their different capacities.