Parliament Throws Out Constitution Amendment Bill

1639 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The bill proposes raising the retirement for the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal from 70 years to 75 years and creating an open ended term for Electoral Commissioners.

Parliament has blocked an attempt by Nakifuma County MP Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleko to bring proposed amendments to the Constitution.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga on Wednesday directed that the motion by Kafeero to seek leave of Parliament to draft the Constitution Amendment Bill should be halted until government brings an omnibus bill to handle all constitutional amendments.

Kadaga said she cannot allow one MP to bring amendments, noting that other legislators may be prompted to bring theirs at different intervals.
 
//Cue In: "I have not seen...
Cue Out:...ourselves with respect."//
 
Her decision drew wild cheers and dancing in Parliament as MPs from opposition and NRM jubilated over what appears to be an end to over three weeks of protracted debate on the bill.
 
During the over two-hour debate on Wednesday evening, majority of MPs debated on the motion, calling on Parliament to block it on grounds that it was laced with suspicion and ill-motive.
 
The bill proposes raising the retirement for the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal from 70 years to 75 years and creating an open ended term for Electoral Commissioners.
 
Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Major General Kahinda Otafiire told the House that while government was yet to discuss the proposed Bill, it had proposed that an omnibus detailing several amendments to be tabled in one Bill.  
 
//Cue In: "Last year...
Cue Out:...to the country."//
 
Some MPs including Peter Ogwang wondered why opposition legislators were opposing the motion yet the proposals were supported by their respective parties.
 
//Cue In: "Their position...
Cue Out:...on this."//
 
MPs Odonga Otto and Stephen Mukitale said they had constitutional amendments which they wanted to present as well.
 
However, majority MPs were excited after Kadaga ruled that Parliament should urgently table the omnibus bill.

Several legislators including William Nzoghu, Mbwatekamwa Gaffa and Gerald Karuhanga who spoke against the motion were elated that Parliament had stood against what they claimed would amount to defilement of the constitution.
 
English
//Cue In: "This stupid and unpopular...
Cue Out:...to Ugandans."//

Luganda
//Cue In: "Leero...
Cue Out:...egwanga."//
 
Other MPs including Doreen Amule, Amolatar Woman MP said government should have fronted the Bill.
 
//Cue In: "You know...
Cue Out:...is the best."//
 
Kilak North MP, Anthony Akol, whom Kafeero has threatened  to sue for defamation said Parliament's decision is a show of suspicion over the Bill.
 
//Cue In: "This wasn't actually...
Cue Out:...all of us."//
 
Reacting to Parliament's decision, Kafeero conceded but said he had played his part as an MP by demanding that government performs its duty to bring a consolidated Constitutional amendment Bill.
 
English
Cue In: "My colleagues...
Cue Out:...position."//
 
Luganda
//Cue In: "Gavumenti...
Cue Out:...bizze."//

 

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.