Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah has allowed shadow Attorney General and Ndorwa East MP, Wilfred Niwagaba to proceed with tabling a motion seeking leave of Parliament to enact a private members bill named “The Constitutional Amendment bill 2019” that will contain the opposition’s electoral reforms.
Oulanyah made the ruling in response to objections that had been raised by Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana. Rukutana had raised three objections to Niwagaba’s motion questioning if the motion doesn’t require certificate of financial implication, and whether certificate of financial implication is compliant of article 93 and whether the requirement to article 93 applies to draft bills.
Rukutana also sought Deputy Speaker’s interpretation on whether proceeding with Niwagaba’s motion would be contrary to a resolution adopted by Parliament to refer all amendments to constitutional review commission arguing that the amendments can be brought before the Commission that is about to embark on its mandate.
However, Oulanyah ruled in negative on all objections raised by Rukutana arguing that blocking Niwagaba from seeking leave of Parliament, would violate article 93 of the constitution and rule 123 of the rules of procedure of parliament. “I find issues raised by the Deputy Attorney General can’t be the basis to prevent this august house from debating and considering the motion moved by Hon.Niwagaba. So this issue will be placed on the order paper at the next time Parliament is sitting private and this motion will be dealt with and this parliament will take an appropriate decision on whether to grant or not grant the member leave to present a bill on constitutional amendments.” He ruled. Oulanyah also reminded Rukutana of his support to a similar motion tabled by Raphael Magyezi (Igara East) on constitutional amendment that led to scrapping off of presidential age limit in 2017.
In the reforms suggested by the opposition, they are seeking to amend articles 259 and 262 of the Constitution. The opposition also wants to increase the number of members of the Electoral Commission from seven to nine as well as have the Judicial Service Commission appoint of members of the Electoral Commission instead of having the team named by the President.
The Opposition also wants the army kicked out of Parliament, provide for the leader of the opposition, Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General as ex-official members of Parliament, to replace the requirement for resignation of public officers who wish to stand in general elections with leave of absence without pay as well as to prohibit the appointment of Ministers from among members of Parliament as well as to provide for the office of the Speaker’s Panel.
The Opposition also wants presidential term limits reinstated and also scrap office of Vice President and replace it with the office of Deputy of President. They also want voters to challenge presidential elections in case of any malpractice and to also restrict the number of Cabinet Ministers and State Ministers to twenty-one.