UGANDA: MPs to shrine motion on Public Holidays Bill.

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Lawmakers have finalised plans to re-table a motion seeking leave of Parliament to re-introduce a private member’s Bill that compels government to compensate all public holidays that fall on weekends.
The motion by Rakai Woman MP Juliet Kyinyamatama and national Female Youth MP Adeke Anna Ebaju, seeks to draft a new Bill: “The Public Holidays (Amendment) Act, 2020”.
Last week, Parliament declined to grant Ms Kyinyamatama permission to introduce the Bill because there was no clear seconder.
In a fresh motion submitted to Parliament on Tuesday, Ms Kyinyamatama completed the process and presented Ms Ebaju as the seconder of the Bill.

Argument
In a draft motion, Ms Kyinyamatama argues that the current law is defective in a manner that it pays no attention to public holidays which fall on weekends and go unnoticed, besides interfering in “designated rest days” for Ugandans.
“In order to ensure continued recognition, honour and visibility of public holidays, it is necessary to have public holidays falling on a weekend observed on working days to avoid them interfering with rest days and coinciding with weekend activities such as prayers, marriage celebrations and political activities, among others,” the motion reads in part.

She added: “Observance of public holidays on week days will not only improve their visibility and enable participation of all and as a result, build a stronger sense of nationalism and togetherness but also afford citizens an opportunity to rest.”
The existing law, The Public Holidays Act, Cap255 specifies public holidays that are kept and observed in Uganda, including those declared by the President under the same Act, and their respective dates on which they fall, where practicable but does not address situations where a day falls on a weekend.

The proponents of the Bill also argue that it is an international and national practice for the public holidays to be observed through public celebrations and call for citizens’ participation in order to give the days the deserved recognition, honour and visibility.
It is not clear whether this time, the motion will be cleared. Even when the motion is cleared by Parliament, the MPs will require a certificate of Financial Implications from Finance Ministry. It is not clear whether government will back the Bill, which backbenchers described as “a waste of time.”

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