Shadow Attorney-General Wilfred Niwagaba has said that his Constitutional Amendment Bill 2019 is to be published in the gazette on December 18 and tabled before the House.
According to the Ndorwa East Member of Parliament, this is a milestone that will bring to end the arguments between the opposition and leaders in Parliament over the electoral reforms as proposed by Parliament.
Niwagaba, who was addressing journalists at Parliament on Tuesday said that the title of the bill was gazetted on Friday last week as the ‘Constitution Amendment No. 33 Bill 2019’ where he signed off the final publication and the full text is to be published tomorrow in the gazette.
In August this year, Niwagaba was given a leave so that he can introduce this private Member’s Bill entitled, the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
However, his move was suddenly opposed by the Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana, arguing that the motion, including the draft Bill attached to it, violated Article 93 of the Constitution, which restricts private members from sponsoring legislation that would impact on the Consolidated Fund otherwise by reduction.
Rukutana wanted the motion seeking leave of Parliament to introduce the private member’s bill be thrown out, however, the Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah gave Niwagaba’s motion a lifeline by ruling against Rukutana.
However this didn’t stop Rukutana, he went ahead and wrote a letter warning the clerk of Parliament Jane Kiberige not to do anything concerning Niwagaba’s bill.
On December 3, Oulanyah directed Kibirige to publish in the gazette the Constitutional Amendment Bill,2019, however, she refused because Rukutana had written a letter warning her against publishing the bill saying it bears financial implication for the country.
Oulanyah’s directive came after the refusal of the Ministry of Finance to give him a certificate of financial implication within the 60 days as provided for in the Public Finance Management Act 2015.
After a long struggle, on Monday this week, Niwagaba threatened to drag Kibirige to court following her refusal to abide by the ruling Oulanyah to gazette the opposition electoral reforms, a move which seems to have brought hopes of publishing this bill tomorrow.
Niwagaba said, “We are still pushing the clerk to comply with the Speaker’s directive and if she fails, we are looking at going to court for an order of mandamus to compel her to gazetted the bill.”
He added that if the bill is published, it would encourage the Speaker to place the bill on the order paper for tabling tomorrow for the first reading of the bill.
The bill is a move by the opposition seeking to introduce some great changes in current constitutional reforms which they believe are necessary to usher in Uganda with effective democratic governance.
It also seeks to scrap off the representation of the army in Parliament, it annuls the office of Prime Minister, reinstates presidential term limits and prohibits the appointment of Ministers from among Members of Parliament.
“The opposition MPs agreed during the retreat to discuss ways of popularising this bill among the wider community. We need numbers to popularise this Bill because it brings back democracy and equality in the House and the entire filed of Uganda’s politics,” he said.
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