The ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, is seeking Shs13.5bn to conduct the long waited Constitutional Review process and table the proposed electoral reforms in time.
Maj Gen (Rtd) Kahinda Otafiire, the line minister also washed his hands of the delay and instead blamed the Ministry of Finance which has delayed to release the money.
The Supreme Court in March 2016 when delivering a ruling in the petition filed by Amama Mbabazi challenging President Museveni’s election victory, recommended that government carries out electoral reforms within two years. This was to avoid the passing of laws and also to avoid complaints of imbalance opportunities in media during election campaigns.
On January 29, 2019, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga gave Otafiire an ultimatum of three months to table all electoral reforms before the House.
On Tuesday, while appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to present his Ministerial Policy Statement for Financial Year 2019/20, Otafiire said his ministry needs money to constitute the Constitution Review Commission and facilitate it before the ultimatum given by the Speaker elapses.
When committee chairperson Abbas Agaba asked him how his ministry is going to handle the two tasks, Otafire said government plans to deal with the electoral reforms during the constitutional review process since they all affect amendments in the Constitution.
“Minister you need to give answers to Ugandans who ask how the 2021 elections will be held without electoral reforms. Are we not going back in errors which the Supreme Court cautioned us years ago?” asked Agaba.
Otafire responded and asked the committee to pass his budget so that he meets the target.
“We are ready to begin this exercise but finances have been a problem. So we wait. Now, in the event that the constitutional review delays, it will otherwise constrain the processing of our electoral reforms.
So I think we shall have to deal with the electoral reforms as they are and we shall be bringing them to Parliament in due course,” Gen Otafiire added.