A section of Members of Parliament have tasked government to explain its delay to appoint a Constitutional Review Commission to oversee an overhaul of amendment of the Constitution.
Buliisa County MP, Stephen Mukitale Birahwa, while raising a matter of national importance during today’s plenary sitting, told the House that for close to two years, government has failed to appoint members of the Commission to spearhead an overhaul of the Constitution.
In 2015, Parliament passed the Constitutional Amendment Bill; however several proposals that were presented by the opposition and civil society were not included in the amendments, prompting an outcry.
To cure the gaps, the Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda promised that a Constitutional Review Commission would be set up to handle the proposals that were not included in the bill.
Mukitale told the House that there is growing interest in constitutional amendments, which government is not taking into consideration. He also wondered why government had failed to bring the matter as part of its business, in spite of calls from the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga to do so.
“Our concern is that in the last session of Parliament’s work, it has attempted to handle a lot of work. We need to introduce this business early and the commission put in place urgently to deal with constitutional amendments,” Mukitale said.
He asked the Speaker to compel the Justice Minister, Kahinda Otafiire to update Parliament on how far they had gone with the matter.
In response, the Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa informed the House that information she has received from the Minister of Justice is that 18 names have been submitted to the President to appoint members to fill the 12 positions on the commission.
Hon Nankabirwa said it is important that issues of constitutional review are handled within the early days of Parliament, since legislators will be busy at the tail end of their term in office due to elections.
The Speaker of Parliament discouraged the legislators from debating the matter in anticipation, rather that when the matter comes before the House, it will be handled.