277 members of Parliament today voted in favor of passing the Constitution Amendment Bill, one abstained and six opposed out of 284 total members who were present during the Bill’s 3rd reading.
Some of the key amendments made include:
- The Bill has allowed the independent members of parliament less than 12 months to cross to political parties of their choice.
- The Constitution Amendment Bill as passed rejected the proposal to increase the retirement age of Judges and Justices from 65 years to 70 years and 70 to 75 years for judges.
- The new constitutional amendment bill has changed the Electoral commission name to the independent Electoral commission.
- Parliament rejected a proposal on Electoral commission members having a non-renewable seven year term of office instead of open term to avoid a possibility of compromise.
However, parliament shelved the minority report views for future consideration.
MP Mwiru Paul [Jinja Municipality East], the mover of the minority report pleaded with the house to either reject or adopt the minority report amendments as proposed.
“We all know that the executive has always promised to review constitution amendments but they never do so, case in point is how government rejected all opposition views on the constitution amendments and presented only its views,” Hon Mwiru said.
The Attorney General Fred Ruhindi, in his response said that the views in the minority report on the constitutional amendment bill will be forwarded in the constitutional review commission so as are considered in future. “The legal and parliamentary affairs committee agreed with the president to have this constitution Review commission to deal with pending issues which could have not been dealt with due to time constraint.” said Fred Ruhindi
It is important to note that the constitution amendment bill 2015 was passed today after the legal and parliamentary affairs committee had only gathered views from 16 districts out 112 districts in Uganda. In their majority report, the committee did not bring to parliament views of the people on the restoration of the presidential term limit though it was widely demanded by those who appeared before the committee.
Some members of the opposition lead by the leader of opposition in Parliament Wafula Oguttu, stormed out of Parliament, protesting the manner of debate on the Constitution Amendment bill. “We in the opposition cannot be part of the debate that does not want to listen to the minority views, therefore we choose to leave” said Hon Oguttu.
The shadow minister for Internal Affairs Muwanga Kivumbi, emphasized that he cannot accept the NRM Mps’ continuous rejection of the proposals to the constitution Amendment bill without debating them. However the opposition members who remained in parliament who include Nathan Nandala Mafabi and Samuel Odonga Otto forced government to drop its proposal for open term for the electoral commission and retained the constitution number of seven members of the chairman, Vice and five commissioners.
MPs also opposed the proposal fronted by Hon Nandala Mafabi, who suggested that the opposition have a representative on the Electoral Commission.