The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee today resolved to hold countrywide consultations about the Constitutional Amendment No.2 Bill, 2017 going against an earlier plan not to do so. In the committees earlier plan ahead of the consideration of the Bill, a draft budget of 715 million Shillings was drawn up to facilitate 23 legislators to traverse the country and also visit three countries.
In the committee's earlier plan ahead of the consideration of the Bill, a draft budget of 715 million Shillings was drawn up to facilitate 23 legislators to traverse the country and also visit three countries.
Out of the 715million, 227.2 million was planned to carter for regional meetings while over 400 million was planned for the international trips. Some of the countries the committee was considering to visit were Kenya, Ghana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Israel and the United States. Only three countries were to be selected.
Another 88.3 million Shillings was planned to carter for a retreat for the committee to write its report after the consultations.
However, URN learnt that in the process of interfacing with different individuals and institutions on the Bill, the committee had decided not to hold countrywide consultations as well as benchmarking trips following information of absence of money to fund the trips.
This came after the Parliamentary Commission re-aallocated 13 billion Shillings meant for travels to provide 29 million Shillings to each Member of Parliament to help them consult in the their respective constituencies on the proposed bill which seeks to repeal Article 102(b) of the constitution to remove presidential age limits.
Now, in the committee meeting chaired by West Budama South MP Jacob Oboth-Oboth, the pending internal and foreign travels were a point of contention.
Sources reveal that a section of National Resistance Movement (NRM) party MPs sitting on the committee were of the view that internal travels should not be made so that the committee writes a report from the meetings it has been holding for the last three weeks.
However, opposition legislators opposed this suggestion insisting that the Committee traverses the country to consult Ugandans. Some of the MPs who insisted on the countrywide travels according to sources include Busiro East MP Medard Sseggona and Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba among others.
According to sources, these MPs said that they cannot write a shoddy report related to a sensitive matter hurriedly without engaging Ugandans.
Following the contention, the legislators tasked their Chairperson Oboth-Oboth accompanied by other legislators to interface with the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga in a bid to allow them time to conduct the necessary travels and to also find money to facilitate the committee work.
Oboth-Oboth confirmed these developments and the decision while speaking to journalists at Parliament before engaging in another meeting with Speaker Kadaga.
Following their meeting with the Speaker, a technical officer sitting on the committee revealed to URN that the Speaker reportedly committed herself on the regional travels saying these could be done but was non-committal on the international trips, saying she needed to first inquire with the Parliament Finance Department.
This internal committee meeting follows the end of consultations on the Bill that was being conducted at Parliament for the past three weeks.
Meanwhile, Oboth-Oboth also revealed that the internal committee meeting had resolved to schedule a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni as a former presidential candidate to ask him questions about the Bill.
The bill tabled by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi seeks to, among others, remove the presidential age limits currently capped at 35 and 75 years.