POLITICAL CAUCUSING AND POLICY LEGISLATION IN UGANDA’S PARLIAMENT
MASAJJAGE, DAVID IVAN
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This study was about “Political Caucusing and Policy Legislation in Uganda’s Parliament,” which is a paradigm shift from the conventional representative legislation in parliament to the contemporary political caucusing one. These emerging scenarios have in a way affected policy legislation. The study, therefore, explored the possibility that political caucusing contributes to legislation through three objectives that included: to examine the extent to which political caucusing influences agenda setting; to examine the extent to which political caucusing influences policy enactment; and to examine the extent to which political caucusing influences policy outcomes in the Parliament of Uganda. The study applied the cross-sectional research design and administered questionnaires to 103 respondents and an interview guide to 10 respondents. The respondents comprised Members of Parliament and staff from the Parliamentary Affairs arm of the Parliament of Uganda. Both qualitative and quantitative techniques were applied in data collection and analysis. Findings of the study depicted that policies are originated from mainly the President’s campaign manifesto, State of the Nation Address and Budget Speech. However, incidentals like vagaries of nature; landslides and floods and internationally ratified conventions and treaties may cause urgency and thus deviation of attention to either a government or a private member’s bill to be tabled before parliament. It was on this basis that it was analysed that political caucusing influences agenda setting, policy enactment and policy outcomes through behind-the-door meetings that influence caucus members’ presentations and decisions on the floor of parliament. The study espouses Max Weber’s elitist theory that the elites shape mass opinion. In this study, the elites included the Members of Parliament; both in the ruling party and opposition, in addition to civil society. The study, to some extent, confirmed Easton’s systems theory which portrays public policy as an output of the political system in that Cabinet is constitutionally mandated to originate, formulate and implement policies. The study, therefore, recommended that political caucusing should, as much as possible, be open to all members of each political party and stakeholders, including the civil society and more accommodative to each other’s views for the common good. The study was, however, not exhaustive enough since it is a relatively novel concept. It, therefore, recommends an area for further research to include the influence of stakeholders outside the ruling party in shaping public policy.