A section of legislators have called on government to prepare comprehensive constitutional amendments to avoid the current trend where Members of Parliament are moving private members’ bills.
These concerns were as MPs debated a motion to grant Igara East Representative, Michael Mawanda, leave of the House to introduce a Private Member’s Bill. The bill entitled, ‘the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, seeks to, among others, remove the Governor and Deputy Governor of Bank of Uganda from being Chairperson and Vice Chairperson respectively of the Central Bank. .
Mawanda said the decision making authority is bestowed unto the board which is headed by the Governor who also serves as the administrative head of the Institution adding that, ‘this creates conflict of interest’.
Mawanda based his bill on the reports of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) and the special audit report of the Auditor General on the closure of commercial banks.
However, Mukono Municipality MP, Betty Nambooze said that the proposed Bill should not have allowed.
“There was a proposal that the Minister for Constitutional Affairs and Attorney General move to cause amendments to the Constitution on this and other issues for once. However, the fact that we have a member of the backbench introducing this, leaves a lot to be desired,” she said.
Nambooze added that the Executive has abandoned its duty and failed to solve matters like what the bill seeks to address.
She held that the last time Parliament sat to amend the Constitution from a Private Member in 2017, it turned catastrophic following the amendments on the presidential age limit.
“If there is need to amend the Constitution for that and other issues, let it be done formally by the government after consultation with the masses,” Nambooze added.
Kibaale District Woman MP, Noeline Kisembo concurred with Nambooze saying that she is strongly opposed to the piecemeal amendments to the Constitution that the government seems not to be part of.
“In the 10th Parliament, it became the norm for us to have private members introducing amendments to the Constitution. We urge the Central Government to put in place a Constitutional Review Commission so that the review is fully examined and amendments made,” she added.
Butambala County MP, Muwanga Kivumbi however, disagreed saying that since it is lawful, MPs should introduce private bills where the government fails.
“If the government does not agree with something, we will use our will power, examine any amendment on the Constitution and support it to the end as long as it is in the interest of the people,” he said.
Muwanga Kivumbi added that, ‘amendments will always exist in the years to come’ adding that Parliament should not wait for a reluctant government.
“There is never going to be a time we construct a ceiling on a Constitution and say it is so perfect and therefore does not need an amendment,” he said adding that, ‘the generations to come will amend the Constitution to rhyme with the challenges of the day’.
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