Women's Democracy Network Shuns ‘Age Limit' Invitation

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In short
WDN-U also says that the Private Members Bill tabled by the Igara West MP, Raphael Magyezi doesnt take into account Ugandas history that is enumerated in the preamble of the constitution.

The Women's Democracy Network (WDN) in Uganda is latest group to turn down an invitation to appear before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to submit its views on the Constitutional (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2017.

WDN-U was expected to appear before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on Monday on the invitation of the chairperson, Jacob Oboth-Oboth to make a presentation on the bill, which seeks to among other things to scrap the 75-year-old presidential age limit cap.

However, Perry Aritua, the WDN Executive Director wrote to the Committee Chairperson on October 31, saying they will not be in position to appear before the Committee over the bill.

In her letter, Aritua cites difficulty in getting police protection for their consultations on the Constitutional (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2017 as one of the challenges that have constrained WDN-U from conducting consultations on the Bill to come up with a position.    

She explains that her organization usually consults women at various levels to ensure integration of substantive voices on bills before parliament, which hasn't been possible.
She also cites the debacle in parliament on September 27th 2017 when the motion on the table was tabled ultimately resulting in the Constitutional (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2017, saying it characterized by violence and hospitalization of some MPs, which doesn't augur well for constitutionalism.
WDN-U also says that the Private Member's Bill tabled by the Igara West MP, Raphael Magyezi doesn't take into account Uganda's history that is enumerated in the preamble of the constitution.
"The preamble of Uganda's Constitution as you are aware provides the justification for the provisions of the Constitution including Article 102b. The lack of recognition for the preamble of Uganda's Constitution by the Bill especially the clause on Article 102 (b) therefore makes it impossible for the WDN-U to appear before your committee." reads part of the letter.

WDN-U reminds the committee that they together with other women organisation appeared before the same committee on May 8th 2015 and presented proposed Constitutional Amendment from a gender perspective under the auspice of Women's Democracy Group (WDG). 
WDN-U made the proposals together with Uganda Women's Network (UWONET), Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), Center for Women in Governance (CEWIGO) and Action for Development (ACFODE).

"WDN-U and different organizations had hoped this and other proposals would guide the 10th Parliament as it reviews various proposals for Constitutional Amendment through an omnibus Constitutional Amendment Bill as the Speaker of Parliament advised then and in one of the sittings of the 10th Parliament in September 2016." further reads the letter.

The women organization joins the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda- IRCU, Makerere University Law Dons and former Prime Minister Apollo Nsibambi who declined to appear as requested.


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.