Page last updated at 16:21 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 17:21 UK

Uganda MPs issued with scorecards

MP's scorecard
Men scored better than women in the assessment

An independent Ugandan think tank has published performance scorecards for every MP in the country.

Graded from triple A to F, the reports measure such things as attendance and participation at debates and have been welcomed by voters.

The worst-performing MPs were representatives of the army, most of whom got Fs.

Opposition MPs scored higher than those from the governing party, and men did better than women.

The scorecards found 70% of MPs did not attend constituency or district local council meetings.

'School report'

And only 65% of elected members had set up constituency offices and hired staff, despite receiving funding for this purpose.

We're telling MPs, you've been given money to rent a house where you sleep with your spouse and children, but you come to the parliament to deliberate
David Pulkol
Africa Leadership Institute

Kitgum district MP John Okello Okello scored an A and a B for his parliamentary and committee work respectively, but a D for constituency work.

He told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme he thought he would have done much better in the constituency marks because he said he had a well-established office.

"I have DStv, my people watch football free, I provide newspapers throughout the year," he said. "I think [the scorecards are] good, it encourages us to do better."

Kabarole district MP Margaret Muhanga Mugisa, who got a C and an F, said she had not seen her scorecard.

But she told Focus on Africa: "I've hear I've performed excellent. I bring petitions, I ask for more money for them [constituents]."

David Pulkol, the head of the Africa Leadership Institute, which prepared the cards, said it was best to present the information simply, like a school report card.

Explaining what kind of things were assessed, he told the BBC: "Their attendance. Their participation. It's a talking house [of parliament]. It's not a sleeping house. It's not where you can come to sleep.

"So we're telling MPs, you've been given money to rent a house where you sleep with your spouse and children. But you come to the parliament to deliberate."

Rowdy debate

A couple of weeks before the results were published, there was a rowdy debate in parliament, when some MPs tried to block the release of the cards.

Parliamentary attendance shot up after the cards were published for the first time last year and revealed that MPs on average turned up for only a quarter of sessions.

One voter was very impressed, telling the BBC: "It's really good because now we can see MPs who are not working for us and indeed it can even help improve their attendance."

The BBC's Joshua Mmali in Uganda's capital, Kampala, says the voters will now know which MPs make the grade, and which do not, with elections less than two years away.

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