Uganda Law Reform Commission to Amend Penal Code

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In short
The Uganda Law Reform Commission has today revealed that there is an on-going project to amend the penal code. The amended penal code will eliminate provisions which do not serve any purpose.

The Uganda Law Reform Commission has today revealed that there is an on-going project to amend the penal code.
The project is being headed by Justice Lameck Mukasa, the head of the Criminal Division of the High Court.
Commissioner Nyakaana Patrick says they have scanned through the penal code and there are plans to cut down its size due to the many provisions which do not serve any purpose.
The Law Reform Commission advises that since legislation is sometimes demand driven, it is not harmful to amend the penal code instead of introducing a new Bill.
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The law reform commissioners also said they have taken cognizance of the fact that there are Bills that have not proceeded to another level which will all be incorporated in the Penal Code amendment Bill.
They also clarified as to why for one reason or another they have not played their role to advice on most of the Bills introduced by government.
Nyakaana says even though they have a mandate to reform, and advice government, they do not have a monopoly. This is why Bills such as the Marriage and Divorce Bill 2009 and the Anti-Pornography Bill 2011 have come from different directions and doomed for failure.
The commission has allegedly come under attack for delaying to do their work before a Bill is tabled. He explains that this is because compared to Bills that are not initiated by them, they take their time to consult, and research and benchmarking on how they operate in other jurisdictions.
However, they get hindrances when Bills have reached Parliament level and are told it belongs to Parliament and are only allowed to give their opinions.
According to Nyakaana if the Anti-Pornography Bill had not reached committee level and they were consulted first, they would suggest that resources and time are not wasted to discuss it.
The Law Reform Commission and the Uganda Communications Commission both agree that the Bill is a duplication of the Penal Code.
Nyakaana without mentioning other Bills says some have been tabled before Parliament by just changing names yet there are already laws that cover for what they want to legislate for.
One Bill that has gone through a name change is the Marriage and Divorce Bill which was previously  known as the Domestic Relations Bill.
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On Tuesday this week, Irene Odida Ovonji, a former member of the Law Reform Commission in 1994, not only blamed the civil society organisations for failing the Marriage and Divorce Bill but says it is also because of lack of political will starting with President Yoweri Museveni.
Ovonji says the Bill had four years of consultation in 10 districts between 1994 and 1998 at the time including customary laws, and the eight different religious sects.
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