MPs Fault UPDF on Partiality, Discrimination

5014 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Legislators on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee say army representatives have become listening posts for the ruling National Resistance Movement party.

The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee wants the powers of the President in the election of army representatives to parliament reduced. They contend that as a Commander in Chief of the army, the President's role in appointing the ten army MPs is viewed as an extension of the ruling NRM party.

The committee is currently scrutinising the Parliamentary Elections Amendment Bill 2015 (2), which prescribes guidelines for the election of youths, army and worker's representatives to Parliament. Under the proposed amendments in the bill, army MPs shall be elected by the UPDF Council from a list of at least 20 officers submitted by the Commander in Chief.

Members of the council only get to know the nominees thirty minutes before the election is held. However, legislators on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee say army respresentatives have become listening posts for the ruling National Resistance Movement party.
The legislators expressed their concern while General Katumba Wamala and Brigadier Phinehas Katirima, both army MPs, to discuss the election procedures. MPs Monica Amoding, Alex Ndeezi and Abdu Katuntu say the President's role should be limited to ensure that he has no influence in their work at Parliament.


//Cue In: You came to this Institution…
Cue Out:…they take charge//

Katuntu further questioned the criteria of electing the army MPs, noting that only officers of high ranks are chosen, leaving out lower ranking officers.

//Cue In: We don't have a Corporal…
Cue Out…within the Act//

In his response, General Edward Katumba Wamala, the Chief of Defense Forces defended the President's role as the Commander in Chief. He said the army should be kept abreast on what is going on in the country as key stakeholders.  


//Cue In: In terms of…
Cue Out:…over this time//  

//Cue In: Amaggye gamwe…
Cue Out:…n'okutambula obulungi//

He however, said the army will consider reviewing the composition of its representative  to include lower rank officers.

The presence of the army MPs in parliament since 1994 has been a matter of debate. Some of the critics have called for the scrapping of army representatives saying they are partisan.


About the author

Olive Eyotaru
Olive Eyotaru is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Eyotaru has been a URN staff member since February 2015.

Eyotaru started practising journalism while still studying at Uganda Christian University. She was a reporter with Ultimate Media Consult Ltd between 2005 and 2007.

In 2009, Eyotaru joined Monitor Publications Limited, under KFM Radio as a parliamentary and business reporter. Consequently, Eyotaru started writing for the Daily Monitor newspaper until January 2015, when she moved to URN.

She is interested in reporting about politics, health, human rights, business and sports.