The argument that members of Parliament are only representatives and not delegates undermines Article 1 of the Constitution, which is to the effect that power belongs to the people. There is nothing whatsoever that can take away the powers of the people.
That is why the Speaker of Parliament asked the Members of Parliament to go and consult the people in order to have their opinions on the Constitution Amendment Bill No. 1 of 2017, which has been dubbed the age limit Bill.
The terms have been defined as follows: A delegate is one who represents or acts for another person or a group. A delegate is bound to vote according to their constituent’s expressed wishes.
On the other hand, while a representative is one who stands for or acts on behalf of another, from the foregoing, one misses a point when differentiating the two words in the context of roles of parliamentarians.
A parliamentarian is under a social contract of five years and is only bound to perform according to the aspirations of his or her people. And he or she is under a mandate to make laws for the purpose of peace, order, development and good governance of Uganda.
For instance, when people realise that the above terms of the social contract are being violated, they have two options: One of recalling their members from Parliament as the law provides or through guiding them on their stand on any public debate in which they have interest.
Members of Parliament are both representatives and delegates of the people and by virtue of Article 1 of the Constitution they are accountable to the people, who have power throughout and this power is not lost merely by electing such members to office. People under the Constitution only lose a right to represent themselves due to the fact that we cannot have all of us in Parliament.
However, the people elected are bound by the opinions and concerns of the people they represent.
It is cynical, snobbish and treasonable to argue that Parliament can do whatever it thinks fit without the views of Ugandans. This is usurping the powers of the people who are supreme.
Therefore, it is my appeal to Members of Parliament that after you have lost respect for anything and everything else in Uganda, please at least have the utmost regard and respect to Ugandans and understand that they are perpetually sovereign.
Morgan Apollo Muhindo,