Age Limit Debate: Dozens Request to Appear Before Committee

2230 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Only 20 of the 49 groups and individuals invited to interface with the committee have so far showed up over the past three weeks. 20 declined to appear, five requested for more time to prepare their submission and the remaining four are scheduled to appear this week.

Dozens of Ugandans and groups have written seeking to appear before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, which is conducting public hearings on the Constitutional (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2017.

 
The bill that was tabled by the Igara West MP, Raphael Magyezi seeks to among other things to scrap Article 102(b), which bars people below 35 and those above 75 years from vying for presidency.


The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, which is chaired by the West Budama South MP, Jacob Oboth-Oboth has been hearing submissions from selected individuals and groups on the bill.

 
However, URN has established that several individuals and groups have applied to appear before the committee to make their submissions.  The individuals include Local Council Chairmen, political activists and patriots.

 
Some of the groups that have applied to appear whose letters URN has seen are Youth Coalition and Electoral Democracy in Uganda (YCED), Uganda Media Activists, The Uganda Association of Uneducated Persons (TUAUP), Uganda Markets and Allied Employees Union (UMEU), Urban Community Vector Control Group (UCO-VEC), Uganda Mechanics and Engineering Association among others. 


 
The Committee Chairperson, Oboth-Oboth, says they will accord the individuals and groups time to present their views once they are done with those already scheduled by the committee.

 
 
Breakdown of Expertise/Categories of Witnesses Invited By Committee



According to the consultation road map of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee accessed by URN, the committee invited 49 institutions and persons in different categories to present their opinions on the Constitutional (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2017.

 
Those invited in their individual capacities included Raphael Magyezi, the mover of the motion, the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Kahinda Otafiire, the Leader of Opposition, Winnie Kiiza and Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda.

 
The Committee also invited three government commissions including Equal Opportunity Commission, Uganda Law Reform Commission and Electoral Commission as well as two professional bodies including Uganda Law Society and Uganda Medical Association. 



The committee also invited representatives from nine political parties include the Conservative Party (CP), Democratic Party (DP), National Resistance Movement (NRM), Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Justice Forum (JEEMA), Uganda People's Congress (UPC), People's Progressive Party (PPP), People's Development Party (PDP) and Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA).

 
The committee also invited 8 people from the Academia including Makerere University Law School Dons, Political historians Dr. Tanga Odoi, Dr. Yasin Olum, Dr. Mwambutsya Ndebesa, Dr. Saleh Simba and Uganda Management Institute's Dr. Gerald Kagambirwe Karyeija, Prof. Apollo Nsibambi and Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere.

 
The committee also invited the Inter Religious Council of Uganda, two Associations, two Civil Society Organizations, five Constitutional Lawyers, four gender groups, five former presidential candidates and two pressure groups. According to the road map, MPs and the Business Community are required to make their submissions in writing progressively.
 
 
Only 20 of the 49 groups and individuals invited to interface with the committee have so far showed up over the past three weeks. 20 declined to appear, five requested for more time to prepare their submission and the remaining four are scheduled to appear this week.

 
 
About the Constitutional (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2017


 


Besides the proposed amendment of Article 102(b), Magyezi's Bill also seeks to remove the 30-year-old and 75 year cap limit on those contesting for district chairpersons' seats, which is provided for under Article 183 (2) (b) of the Constitution.
 

The Bill also seeks to amend Article 61 (2) of the Constitution to provide that the Electoral Commission shall conduct a general election within the first 30 days of the last 120 days before the expiry of the term of the office of the President.  Currently, the Commission is required to conduct a general election within the first 30 days of the last 90 days before the expiry of the term of the office of the President.

 
The Bill further proposes an amendment to Article 104 (2), (3) and (6) to provide that a petition challenging a presidential election shall be lodge  in the Supreme Court registry within 15 days up from 10 and that the Supreme Court will inquire into the matter not later than 45 days up from 30 days.

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.