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Are the ‘Rebel MPs’ Parliamentary seats Safe?

Published 2 years ago -


The constitutional amendment bill was read for the first time on 30th April 2015. It was met by excitement and a mixture of worry from the ‘rebel MPs’ formerly NRM but expelled from the party.

MP Theodore Ssekikubo, one of the “Rebel MPs” as labeled  by the media , raised a concern on the procedure. He passionately called for a stay on the debate on the constitutional amendments because the matter on Constitutional Amendment bill in regards to amending Article 83 is before court and is, therefore, sub-judice.

The procedure point later turned into a motion for a resolution of parliament urging Minister of Justice
and constitutional Affairs to withdraw clause 4(1) {g}.

The controversial clause 4 proposes an amendment Article 83 of the Ugandan constitution so that any member of Parliament that leaves a political party or organization for which he or she stood as a candidate for election to parliament to join another political party ceases to be a member of that organization hence loses his /her seat in Parliament.

It also provides that persons wishing to stand as Independent candidates in an election will require signatures of at least one thousand registered voters in a constituency, for direct and district women parliamentary seats.

The amendment is vague because it doesn’t state the terms of an MP leaving his/her political party. ‘Rebel ‘MPs’ worry was the misuse of the particular amendment if adopted by Parliament.

“Under my motion, I call upon parliament to urge the Minister for Constitutional Affairs to withdraw the amendment for it contravenes the privileges of a Member of Parliament” said MP Ssekikubo. MP Wilfred Niwagaba, another of the ‘rebels Mps’, seconded the motion as he cautioned Government’s intention towards such an ambiguous amendment.

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Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah said he will give guidance on whether debating Article 83 is sub judice in regard to Constitution, but asked the Attorney General to comment on the motion. “We have a caucus coming up, we will meet and discuss this then get back to parliament” Deputy Attorney General Mwesigye responded.

On July 30 2015, the constitution Amendment Bill was featured on the order paper, as the Rebel MPs shifted uncomfortably in their four chairs placed in the middle of the opposition side and the NRM side in Parliament.

The chairing deputy Speaker, asked the Attorney General to inform the house, on the Executive’s stand on Clause 4.

“We in the Executive, sat and agreed with MP Ssekikubo’s proposal to withdraw clause 4{1} (g), we refer the clause to the Constitutional Review Commission to come up with grounds under which the clause can be invoked for incorporation in the Constitution” the Attorney General replied.

His response was met by a gigantic applause from all members of Parliament present at the sitting but the sighs of relief form the Rebel MPs were very eminent and worth medals. Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah informed the minister that, currently there is no constitutional review commission, however the deputy Attorney General Mwesigye Rukutana said, the Constitution Amendment bill would provide for one.

What will be the ruling of the Constitutional review commission? Is the Rebel MPs relief temporary or will the commission rule in their favor?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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