Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah has directed the Clerk to Parliament to immediately publish in the national gazette the Private Member’s Bill moved by Ndorwa East Member of Parliament Wilfred Niwagaba, which seeks constitutional amendments to change the structure of government.
The tabling of the Private Member’s Bill titled the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2019 has dragged on since the start of September after Mr Niwagaba was granted leave of Parliament to introduce it.
It is a consolidated Bill after Jinja Municipality East MP Paul Mwiru had expressed interest to table a similar Bill.
Yesterday, Mr Oulanyah while giving his communication at the start of the plenary sitting ruled that after the Ministry of Finance declined to issue a Certificate of Financial Implication (CFI) to Mr Niwagaba within the required 60 days, it was deemed the certificate had been issued as provided for in the Public Finance Management Act.
“His (Niwagaba) request is to gazette the Bill. The request was signed by the Clerk on September 20 but no certificate has been issued. His request is that the Bill be published in the gazette,” Mr Oulanyah noted.
“Clerk, you are accordingly directed to gazette this Private Member’s Bill for it to be put on the Order Paper as soon as possible,” he directed.
Speaking to Daily Monitor after the Deputy Speaker’s ruling, Mr Niwagaba urged the Clerk, Ms Jane Kibirige, to implement the directive so that the Bill comes up for first reading. Mr Niwagaba is also the shadow attorney general.
“I thank the Deputy Speaker for putting the law into effect and the burden is now on the Clerk to urgently gazette the Bill so that I seek space on the order paper next week for its first reading. I also request Ugandans to popularise the Bill and impress it on their MPs to support it as presented,” Mr Niwagaba said.
The Clerk to Parliament, Ms Kibirige, wrote to the Finance ministry permanent secretary, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, on September 18, seeking that the MP be issued with the CFI. But, there was no response until the 60 days elapsed and this necessitated the Speaker to evoke Section 76(4) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015, to have the Bill tabled for first reading since the ministry of Finance has denied him CFI.
If passed, the Bill 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 among elected MPs.