All Bills passed in the 10th Parliament but yet to be signed by the President, including the long-awaited National Social Security Fund (Amendment) Bill that provides for midterm access have automatically lapsed and will require fresh reintroduction.
According to House Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, the 11th Parliament will not consider any business that remained incomplete in the 10th Parliament since the deadline for reinstating such said business elapsed.
Oulanyah explained that “on June 4, 2021, during my communication at the State of the Nation address, I made reference to Business that remained incomplete. Whereas ordinarily, a motion should have been moved in that sitting to reinstate incomplete business, I guided that such a motion would be moved at an appropriate future sitting.”
“On August 26, 2021, I did question the manner in which such business comes to the 11th Parliament and the difficulty to track the timelines as required in our Rules to execute these assignments. My guidance then was that the business must be reintroduced and the date to which it is introduced begins to run then but I have continued to receive several requests from individual MPs to have a business of the previous Parliament reinstated,” he added.
Whereas Rule 203 and Rule 235 (2) of the Rules of Procedure provide for reinstating of Parliamentary business that had lapsed upon dissolution of the House, in the second sitting of the new Parliament term, Oulanyah said business of the 10th Parliament that remained incomplete required a motion of reinstating such business but this was never done within the specified timelines.
He was, however, hasten to add that, if any member or the Government “is desirous of having the business of the 10th Parliament that was incomplete at the end of that Parliament, they should have that business reintroduced in the House and that business shall begin afresh.”
This means that incomplete Bills and those that were passed by the 10th Parliament but are pending Presidential assent, will require fresh publishing, printing and introduction in the 11th Parliament in accordance with Rule 128 of the Rules of Procedure.
“All Bills that were passed by the 10th Parliament and are pending presidential assent; if that bill is returned to Parliament by the President in accordance with Article 91 of the Constitution but outside the term of the Parliament that passed that bill, that bill is considered a business that lapsed in the 10th Parliament and therefore must be reintroduced to Parliament,” said Oulanyah.
Oulanyah made the communication in a unique plenary sitting attended by his Deputy Anitah Among. The Deputy Speaker took over the chair after the exit of Speaker soon after his communication.
Oulanyah advised the Government and private members interested in the affected business to start thinking of reintroducing them afresh.
With the Speakers ruling, all the Bills that were saved in the 10th Parliament and all the others that were returned and those yet to be returned to Parliament by the President will have to be reintroduced like any other new bill.
At the end of the 10th Parliament, the following Bills were saved; the Marriage and Divorce Bill, 2009, the Uganda Forestry Association Bill, 2010, the National Graduate Scheme Bill, 2018, the Administration of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Patients’ Rights and Responsibilities Bill, 2019, the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2020, the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and the Anti-Slavery Bill, 2020.
Additionally, the Constitution (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2020, the Constitution (Amendment) (No.3) Bill, 2020, the Physical Planners’ Registration Bill, 2020, the Real Estate Agents Bill, 2020, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Bill, 2020, the Human Rights Defenders Protection Bill, 2020, the Public Enterprises Reform and Divestiture Repeal Bill, 2021, the Markets Bill, 2021, the Parliamentary Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and the National Legal Aid Bill, 2020.
On August 17, 2021, Among told MPs that President Yoweri Museveni had returned the Sexual Offences Bill and Succession Bill for reconsideration by the House. The two Bills were passed by the 10th Parliament.
The National Social Security Fund (Amendment) Bill is yet another Bill that was passed by the 10th Parliament, however, last month the President agreed to the workers’ midterm access to their saving in the National Social Security Fund but directed the Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development Betty Amongi to make changes to the Bill and return it for assent.
Kira municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda in response to the communication by the Speaker, expressed shock with the Speakers ruling but noted that he trusts the Speaker’s grounding on legal matters and he had no reason to doubt it.
The state minister for trade, David Bahati, said closer scrutiny needs to be accorded to the principle of continuity of Parliament, where work that has been saved in one Parliament is reintroduced in the succeeding Parliament.
Oulanyah invited the Attorney General to closely scrutinize article 91 of the Constitution together with the Acts of Parliament Act to propose a harmonization in processes in regard to assent and the exercise of the President’s veto on Bills as passed by Parliament.