MP moves to table Bill on electoral reforms

Thursday November 21 2019

Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba

Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba  

By MISAIRI THEMBO KAHUNGU

PARLIAMENT- Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba has unveiled plans to table a Private member’s Bill in which the Opposition seeks several amendments to the Constitution to alter the state structure.

Mr Niwagaba was granted leave by Parliament on September 4 to secure a certificate of financial implication from ministry of Finance in order to table his Bill. He has spent two months seeking a certificate of financial implication (CFI) but has not succeeded.

“The 60 days within which a certificate of financial implication can be issued have elapsed without me getting any positive news from the minister of Finance,” Mr Niwagaba told Daily Monitor yesterday.

“I am now going ahead to report to the Deputy Speaker (Jacob Oulanyah) who was in chair when I was granted leave so that I can be given space on the order paper for the Bill to be read for the first time,” he added.

Mr Niwagaba, who is also the shadow attorney general, had intended to table the Bill as soon as possible. When he was granted leave in a unanimous decision by the House, Mr Oulanyah directed the Finance minister to issue the CFI “immediately”.

The Clerk to Parliament, Ms Jane Kibirige, wrote to the Finance ministry permanent secretary, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, on September 18, seeking that the MP be issued with the CFI. Mr Niwagaba says nevertheless he will proceed under Section 76 (4) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015, to have Bill tabled for first reading since the ministry of Finance has denied him the CFI.

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Section 76 (4) states: “A certificate of financial implication shall be deemed to have been issued after 60 days from the date of request for the certificate.”

The Private Member’s Bill, if passed by Parliament, would cause a major shakeup in the Executive by repealing the office of the Prime Minister and Vice President, with the two roles being carried out by a deputy president.

The Bill proposes the reduction of the size of government to 21 Cabinet ministers and 21 State ministers who will not be appointed from elected MPs. It also provides for the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General as ex-officios in Parliament, serving a five-year renewable tenure of office.

The Bill also seeks to restore presidential term limits and abolish the army representatives in Parliament.
Other proposed reforms include provisions to involve the Judicial Service Commission in appointment of the Electoral Commission chairperson;, empowering the Public Service Commission to determine salaries and allowances of public officers; allowing any voter to challenge the outcome of presidential elections and changing the name of the Uganda Police Force to Uganda Police Service.

mkthembo@ug.nationmedia.com

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