Lawmakers delay regional meetings on Opposition Bill

Monday February 17 2020

Mr Wilfred Niwagaba, the Ndorwa East MP, o

Mr Wilfred Niwagaba, the Ndorwa East MP, on the floor of Parliament in January. He tabled the Opposition Bill last year. Photo BY david LUBOWA 

By MISAIRI THEMBO KAHUNGU

The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament has postponed consultations on the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2019, in which the Opposition seek changes in the structure of government and Parliament.

The committee chaired by Mr Jacob Oboth-Oboth (West Budama South, Ind) was set to start regional consultative meetings tomorrow to seek citizen input in the Private Member’s Bill.

Shadow Attorney General Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East MP, Ind) tabled the Bill on December 19.

“That (consultations) has been postponed until we get all the six Bills done,” Mr Oboth said.
Mr Niwagaba said he was contented with the postponement of the consultative meetings.

“That is understandable because these government electoral reforms need to be disposed of to give way for the committee to concentrate on our Bill,” Mr Niwagaba said.

Proposal
His Bill seeks to replace the Office of the Vice President with an elected deputy president, repeal the Office of the Prime Minister and reduce the size of Cabinet.

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After six years of processing the electoral reform Bills that were tabled by Attorney General William Byaruhanga on July 25, the committee finally tabled the reports on the floor of Parliament on Thursday.

The legislations for amendment are the Presidential Elections Amendment Bill, 2019, the Parliamentary Elections Amendment Bill, 2019, the Electoral Commission Amendment Bill, 2019, the Political Parties and Organisations Bill, 2019, and the Local Governments Amendment Bill, 2019.

Also to be handled together with the electoral reform Bills is the Administration of Judiciary Bill, 2018, which seeks to provide for and strengthen the independence of the Judiciary. The committee tabled its report on the Bill last week.

Key opposition proposals
The Opposition seeks to have the chairperson members of Electoral Commission to be publically appointed by the Judicial Service Commission with approval of Parliament.

Reinstating of the two presidential term limits.
Presidential, parliamentary and Local Governments elections to be held on the same day.
Allowing a political party to challenge the outcome of Presidential elections unlike the current provision for only presidential candidates.

Remove the 10 representatives of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) from Parliament.

Attorney General and deputy to be ex-officios for a five-year term that is renewable once. They would be appointed on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission.
Provide for the Speaker’s panel to help in steering House business in the absence of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
Repeal the Office of the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) and Deputy RDCs.

mkthembo@ug.nationmedia.com

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