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Tuesday, 12 December 2006
 
Parliament met at 2.50 p.m. in Parliament House, Kampala
 
PRAYERS
 
(The Speaker, Mr Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, in the Chair.)
 
The House was called to Order
 

COMMUNICATION FROM THE CHAIR
 
THE SPEAKER: Honourable members, I welcome you and thank you for finding time to come to do your work. In the public gallery, we have visitors from Kayunga District. Their group is called Nazigo Womens Group. You are most welcome to your Parliament! There are two other groups, but I do not have the details. As soon as I get the details, I will introduce them to you.
 
The Order Paper will be adjusted to indicate business to follow, to include the motion by hon. Lukwago for Kampala Central on Shimon Demonstration Primary School. I understand copies have been issued to you but it was not included on the Order Paper. There will also be a statement by the Acholi Parliamentary Group on the land issue in the region. These will all be indicated tomorrow.
 
BILLS
COMMITTEE STAGE
 
THE EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMISSION BILL, 2006
 
2.55
Clause 1
 
THE CHAIRPERSON, STANDING COMMITTEE ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES (Ms Jalia Bintu): Mr Chairman, I beg to propose that Clause 1 be deleted and the justification is, it defeats the intention of Article 32 (4) of setting the period within which the commission was to be established. The establishment of the commission is useful only if the commission is functional. Leaving the enforcement date to the minister may make the commission dormant for a long period after the enactment of the law. The date of commencement should be left to the general interpretation required, which is the date of publication. I beg to propose.
 
THE MINISTER OF GENDER, LABOUR AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (Mrs Syda Bbumba): Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. We had proposed Clause 1 because establishing a commission like this is an easy process. However, in view of the lateness, which has been justified by the chairperson of the committee, we concede to the amendment.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Very good.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 2
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman (Interruption)
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Sorry to interrupt you again. Present in the gallery are teachers and members of the management committee of Shimon Demonstration School. I think they have come to see what is happening here. You are welcome! (Applause)
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, in Clause 2 I propose that the definition of discrimination be replaced with the following: Discrimination means any act, omission, policy, law, rule, practice, distinction, condition, situation, exclusion or preference which directly or indirectly has the effect of nullifying or impairing equal opportunities or marginalizing a section of society or resulting in unequal treatment of persons in employment or in enjoyment of rights and freedoms on the basis of sex, race, colour, ethnical origin, tribe, birth, creed, religion, health status, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability. The justification for this definition is to include all forms of discrimination for clarity. I beg to propose.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Honourable members, that is the proposed amendment. Any comment?
 
MRS BBUMBA: Mr Chairman, the amendment which has been proposed is an expansion of what we had in the Bill. So, we have no problem with the expanded interpretation.
 
MR ARUMADRI: Thank you, Mr Chairman. This interpretation includes discrimination on grounds of political opinion. We are already faced with this problem and I wanted the Bill to be very emphatic as to how it intends to cure this. But it looks like it is just glossing over it.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Glossing over it? What is your position? Do you agree with this new definition by the committee?
 
MR ARUMADRI: Yes, Mr Speaker.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Very good.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, there are some more amendments on Clause 2 and I do not know how to proceed. Should I move them all at once?
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Please do.
 
MS BINTU: I propose that the definition of equality be deleted. The justification is that, the only place it is used does not need a definition.
 
The other amendment is on the definition of the expression equal opportunities. I propose that the definition of equal opportunities be inserted immediately after the definition of discrimination as follows: Equal opportunities means having the same treatment or consideration in the enjoyment of rights and freedoms, attainment of access to social services, education, employment and physical environment, or the participation in social, cultural and political activities regardless of sex, age, race, colour, ethnical origin, tribe, birth, creed, religion, health status, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability. The justification is that, the expression is frequently used in the Bill but it is not defined.
 
Mr Chairman, I beg to propose that the definition of gender be replaced with the following definition: Gender means the social (Interruption)
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Let us finish with the other one before we come to that. Now, the first amendment proposed, honourable minister.
 
MRS BBUMBA: Mr Chairman, we concede to the amendment by way of deletion of the definition of equality because as the chairperson of the committee stated, it is very scarce. It is stated only once in the whole Bill and therefore does not require a definition.
 
MR LUKWAGO: Mr Chairman, I would like to know the harm it does to have the definition of equality in this Bill. In my opinion, I see no harm in having this clause in the Bill. There is that justification that the only reference to it does not require definition, but I see no harm.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: In other words, you are opposing the deletion.
 
MR LUKWAGO: Mr Chairman, I oppose the deletion.
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, where the term equality is used does not need an explanation. For neatness in the Bill, we needed not to define it.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Well, honourable members, there is a proposal to retain and there is a proposal to delete. Therefore, since there are two proposals we shall start with the one of deletion. I put the question. Is it clear to you? You see, the word equality is in the Bill; the committee has come out with a proposal that it should be deleted. There is a Member who said, No, do not delete it. Leave it as it is. Since there are now two positions, we shall start with the one of deletion. I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
THE CHAIRMAN: The second proposed amendment was equal opportunities. Honourable minister, please.
 
MRS BBUMBA: I thank you very much, Mr Chairman. I do not have a problem with inserting the definition, but we thought that since it was the subject matter of the Bill, it did not require a definition. But at the same time, we have no problem with those who feel that the definition should be there. Thank you.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Honourable members, I put the question on the proposed new definition of equal opportunities.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
THE CHAIRMAN: You do not seem to be following. What we are dealing with are the proposals of the committee. The committee has proposed to expand or to clarify the definition, which they have read to us. Therefore, when you support it, we will replace the earlier definition in the Bill.
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, I propose that the definition of gender be replaced with the following: Gender means the social and cultural construct of roles, responsibilities, attributes, opportunities, privileges, status, access to, and control over resources and benefits between men and women, boys and girls in a given society. The justification is for clarity and having a widely used definition.
 
MRS BBUMBA: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. We had thought that we would use the summarised version assuming that everybody understood what gender is. But again, if the committee feels that they needed an expanded definition of gender we have no problem. We accept the amendment.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, I propose that a new definition of sex be inserted immediately after the definition of person as follows: Sex means the natural state of being male or female. The justification is that, it might be deliberately misinterpreted to suit some peoples interests in case we do not define it here.
 
DR BUTURO: Mr Chairman, I support the chairperson of the committee on account that these days we have interest groups which are seeking to argue that it is permissible for a man to marry a man or a woman to marry a woman. This is unacceptable to the majority of Ugandans and so, it is essential that any amendment we make provides for that situation.
 

MRS BBUMBA: Mr Chairman, in view of what is happening globally and what has happened recently in South Africa, I support the amendment.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Before we move to Clause 3, I think in the spirit of the East African Community Federation, in the public gallery we have visitors from Moro Secondary School in Moro Constituency in Kenya. We welcome our visitors from Kenya! (Applause)
 
Clause 3
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question that Clause 3 stand part of the bill.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 4
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, I beg to propose that two new clauses be inserted after Clause 3 to read as follows:
1)  Independence of a commission: Subject to the Constitution, the commission shall, in exercise of its functions be independent and shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.
 
2)  Seal of the Commission:
 
(i)  The seal of the commission shall be:
(a)  in such form as the commission may determine.
(b)  applied in such circumstances as the commission may determine subject to any written law.
(c)  Kept under the custody of the secretary.
 
(ii)    Judicial notice shall be taken of the seal of the commission and any document sealed with the seal shall be admissible in evidence.
 
The justification is to highlight the type of body established and to provide for the seal of the commission. These clauses are re-allocated from other clauses of the Bill to suit the sequence. I beg to propose.
 
MR WACHA: Mr Chairman, I have a small matter on the independence of the commission. I think we should remove the comma from after shall and bring it immediately after functions so that it reads: Subject to the Constitution, the commission shall, at the exercise of its functions, be independent and shall not be subject to&.
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, I am most obliged.
 
MRS BBUMBA: Mr Chairman, we had not provided for the independence of the commission in the Bill on the assumption that being a constitutional body set up by the Constitution, its independence is clearly defined as an oversight committee. We thought that would suffice. However, for emphasis and clarity, I think it does not cause any harm if we inserted the new Clause 4. The seal of the commission is referred in Clause 5. I think it is common practice with such bodies to have a seal, which is managed in the way proposed here.
 
MR LUKWAGO: Mr Chairman, I beg to differ on the issue of the judicial notice of this document, which bears the seal of the commission for two reasons: This clause has an effect of amending the Evidence Act, which is a different legislation altogether. The Evidence Act has a list of documents, which do not require proof and which court can take a judicial notice of. This then affects the Evidence Act without necessarily bringing a Bill to amend it.
 
Secondly, there are dangers involved in this concept of judicial notice. We need to be careful when we are legislating on such documents because they should be tested before they are included. (Interjections) I seek your guidance, Mr Chairman. Should I proceed?
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Please, proceed.
 
MR LUKWAGO: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Taking judicial notice of documents is a requirement of law and it might be dangerous for us to have this as a document without necessarily subjecting it to scrutiny, especially that it has a seal of the commission; that it is admissible without going through the necessary procedures of admitting public documents. Mr Chairman, for those two reasons, I beg to disagree with this proposed amendment.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: You mean your first one is that this, if taken, will be amending the Evidence Act by infection and that amendment by infection should have been accepted as a way of amending - Is the Evidence Act not subject to amendment?
 
MR NANDALA-MAFABI: I support what the honourable member is saying. It would have been neater, if you wanted this document to be considered, to add it on the list of those, which occur in the Evidence Act rather than hiding it in this special one. There is no reason, which has been given as to why you think it is necessary for this particular commission, for its seal to be taken judicial notice of. You stand the risk of people being tempted to forge documents in respect of this. There is nothing special, which you are going to achieve by taking judicial notice of this document. I think there is no reason why it should be added.
 
MR NDEEZI: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I need guidance from the people who are opposing this provision. When we were considering this Bill, we noted that this is not the first commission we are creating. Our task was to compare the provisions of this commission with the provisions of other commissions, including the Uganda Human Rights Commission, Education Service Commission and other commissions of this nature.
 
We believed and concluded that almost all the commissions currently in operational do have this specific provision. So, what is the problem with including it in this commission, if it has done no harm in the other commission?
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Well, honourable members, there is a proposal, which has been made by the committee, the details of which were given to you by the chairperson of the committee. But some Members have opposed these formulations. Now, I think you must have appreciated the reasons for supporting and opposing. Now I want to put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 4
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Are there still more amendments on clause 4?
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, on Clause 4, I beg to move that the clause be replaced with the following under the composition of commission:
 
i)  The commission shall consist of five members, who shall include a chairperson and vice-chairperson, at least one of whom shall be a person with a disability or a youth, and two women appointed by the President with the approval of Parliament.
 
ii)  Members of the commission shall be persons of high moral character and proven integrity and possess considerable experience in and a record of commitment to matters relating to the provision of equal opportunities or human rights.
 
iii)  In addition to the qualifications under sub-section (ii) the chairperson shall be a person qualified to be appointed a judge of the High Court.
 
The first justification is that, in sub-section (i), to streamline the provision and include a youth in the membership of the commission as the youth are also marginalized.
 
The second justification is to provide for extra qualification for the chairperson of the commission.
 
The commission will hear complaints of marginalisation and discrimination and therefore should have qualities of a court. It will be a quasi judicial body and it is necessary for its head to have the qualities of a judge. Mr Chairman, I beg to move.
 
MRS BBUMBA: Mr Chairman, I have no problem with the first amendment because it brings on board all those categories who are generally marginalised, especially the youth who are marginalised from so many angles. I support that, but I have a problem with the qualifications under (iii):
 
The chairperson shall be a person qualified to be appointed a judge of the High Court. I find this one discriminative since we have given the general qualifications under (ii), where it says: Members of the commission shall be persons of high moral character and proven integrity and possess considerable experience in and a record of commitment to matters relating to the provision of equal opportunities or human rights. I feel that the qualifications under (ii) are sufficient; we do not need the qualifications under (iii).
 
MR OYET: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I want to seek clarifications from the committee chairperson. When you look at the report of the committee, on page 7 bullets four, it says that commissions like Equal Opportunities and Human Rights should be contested for favourably, yet here they are saying that the President will appoint it with the approval of Parliament. Isnt that a contradiction? I seek some clarification. Thank you.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: No, why do we not first of all dispose of the first objection; the issue is about qualifications as stated in (iii). I think the minister is saying that (iii) is restricting the appointment. Actually it means that the appointment will be restricted to people who are lawyers and the minister disagrees with that. I think it should be open. Could we dispose of this issue first and then proceed to the others? Can I put the question or there are contributions to be made on this subject?
 
MR MATHIAS NSUBUGA: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. We should say that for a person to qualify, he/she should be of a rank or status of a judge of the High Court, but not to restrict it to the lawyers only. I think somebody who is qualified (Interjections)
 
THE CHAIRMAN: No, what the minister is saying here is that there is no need to restrict it to people who are able to work in court. She is saying that one can be an agriculturalist, an engineer, a farmer or something like that, she is opening it.
 
MR WADRI: Mr Chairman, I have a cause to support the honourable minister. The issues that this commission is going to be entrusted with are of subjective nature. So, you do not need to go to Makerere and get a degree in law in order to know whether you are being discriminated against. You are not going to be in court. What is expected of you is maturity and being very objective in analysing issues which, therefore, means that what we should be emphasising is more of the moral aptitude, more of maturity, basic educational qualifications but not necessarily law. I feel that the minister is quite right. Otherwise, that in itself will be an act of discrimination.
 
MR WACHA: I am sorry, but if you emphasize maturity, what do we do with the youths? (Laughter)
 
MRS SENINDE: Mr Chairman, I would like to support the committee because in the first place, the chairperson gave a justification as to why they are deciding that way. And I believe that if this commission is going to have the powers similar to that of a court, then I do not see the reason why the chairperson is not supposed to be of that level. So, I support the committee.
 
MR LUKWAGO: Mr Chairman, I rise to support the position of the minister. You know, this requirement for a chairperson to have qualifications equivalent to those of a judge, should be put into proper perspective and should not be with due respect vulgarised. You see, for a body to be chaired by a person of those qualifications, it should be a body, which is going to exercise judicial, quasi-judicial functions of powers. This commission, in my opinion, is not necessarily going to exercise judicial powers though it is required to take judicious decisions. Judicious decisions and resolutions do not necessarily require quasi-judicial or judicial powers. That is not what it presupposes.
 
So, I think that qualification will come when we are debating the Electoral Commission Bill. (Laughter) There it would be more relevant, Mr Chairman. I thank you.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Why do we not dispose of this? There are three proposals made: The minister had no problem with the first or even the second one, but there is this one restricting the categories of people who can be appointed. Can we dispose of that?
 
(Question put and negatived.)
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Now, there was a clarification, which a honourable member sought, I think in respect of (i), he thought that membership should be competed for. What is the position?
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, if the Member read the report and understood it, we observed that such commissions like the Equal Opportunities, the Electoral Commission and Human Rights Commission will in future be competed for favourably.
 
But as the committee went on discussing all the necessary procedures, it was stuck somewhere that if we allowed this commission to be competed for, there was need for other related laws to be amended. And, therefore, that is why we have recommended it that in future such commissions should be contested for not only to be left for the appointing authority. And that is why we have made it under the recommendations and we have carried this one forward. So, it is not in any way contradictory.
 
MS JUDITH AKELLO: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I have a small problem with the first one, where it says: The commission shall consist of five members, who shall include a chairperson and vice-chairperson, at least one of whom shall be a person with disability&. Unless if it was a technical or a computer mistake, I do not think the English would sound so well. Because there are some people who may be having many forms of disabilities. Then, if here you mention that a person with a disability - I have a problem with that. (Laughter) Thank you, Mr Chairman.
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, a person with disability. So, we delete the a. Thank you. It is a typographic error (Laughter) 
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. Now, I think let us dispose of the (Interruption)
 
MR ODIT: Mr Chairman, I listened to the clarification from the chairperson. She is saying that in future, these posts would be competed for, and the future is open. How long will this future be before the law can be revisited? This is speculation.
 
Secondly, I am also very uncomfortable with sub-section (i), where the commission will consist of five members who shall include a chairperson, whose sex is silent, vice-chairperson, whose sex is also silent, at least one of whom shall be a person with disability, a youth and two women appointed by the President.
 
Now, if women have been emphasised as a qualification for two persons and the other areas are quiet, there is a high possibility that the chairperson can be a woman; this person with disability can also be a woman and the youth as well. I want some clarification there.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I thought this is to make sure that at least there will be a woman, at least there will be a person with disability and a youth. I think that is all.
 
MRS BBUMBA: Mr Chairman, this commission is about correcting imbalances. We all know that the women are unfortunate among the most marginalized according to the history of our tradition. In whatever form they are, and if you go to the people with disabilities, it is still the women with disabilities who are more marginalised than the men with disabilities. When you go to the youth, again the female youth suffer more. When you go to the general public, again it is the women.
 
So, I do not see any harm even if the whole commission was comprised of women. (Laughter) However, the appointing authority, I am sure in his wisdom, will balance because he has to balance this commission to ensure that it reflects the true character of what it is supposed to do. I have not seen the appointing authority appointing only women. But even if he did, there will be no harm.
 
MR MATHIAS NSUBUGA: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. The purpose of bringing this Bill to this House is for us to make guidelines for the appointing authority, among other reasons. Now, when you say that the appointing authority will use his discretion, then the purpose of bringing this Bill here is defeated. For example, I want to have a distinction between affirmative action and equal opportunities. Affirmative action was brought to encourage women and the youth so that they can be brought to the limelight.
 
Now, when we talk about equal opportunities, for example, even all of us people on opposition are marginalised, both men and women. So, I am saying let us be straight and say - because when you say, five people will be on the commission, supposing all the five are on one side, what happens to the marginalised side of the opposition? So, we want to be straight and guide the appointing authority.
 
MAJ. (RTD) KINOBE: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I want to inform the honourable member on the Floor that when you look at Clause 4, the appointing authority is the President and the approval is by Parliament. So, Parliament is enjoined with the President in finally constituting this commission. In the wisdom of this House, if the appointing authority errors in any way, then the guidance can still come from this House at that stage of constituting the commission. So, I think that is really well taken care of at the time of constituting the commission.
 
MR MATHIAS NSUBUGA: Thank you very much, honourable member. But for me, I just want guidelines to guide the appointing authority so that when he is appointing, the opposition is recognised. The political shades in this House should be put on this commission.
 
MR OKUMU: Mr Chairman, I also want to comment on (i). First, I want to agree with my colleague that we should indicate in the law that the opposition should also be represented on this commission.
 
Secondly, I think we should indicate that the composition of this commission should include people from all the regions in the country because regions have become a big concern in as far as opportunities and marginalisation are concerned. Thank you, Mr Chairman.
 
MS KABANDA: I would like also to agree that there should be a very clear distinction between equal opportunity and affirmative action. That is why equal opportunity is about the best for the job, while affirmative action is positive discrimination and everybody is talking about no discrimination and yet there is discrimination. So, my view is that the committee should go back and have very clear guidelines on what and where affirmative action should apply. They should formulate something on affirmative action, expand it a little bit in accordance with the Constitution.
 
While I agree that this commission should be set up, I still feel that there could be some room for manoeuvres by those who may not understand actually the reason why equal opportunities has been set up. This is why men could come up and contest the existence of only women on this commission in case the appointing body appoints only women. Someone could say, We have been discriminated against.
 
So, we should have guidelines, especially on affirmative action; expand what the Constitution says about affirmative action and then go ahead. It does not mean that I do not agree with the motion, the commission should be set up, but there should be that distinction.
 
MR KAWANGA: The last speaker has actually brought out the issues here, and I wanted to point out that really the language of this clause should be looked at again. It is causing confusion. It reads, The commission shall consist of five members, who shall include a chairperson and vice-chairperson, at least one of whom shall be a person with disability&.
 
It reads like the disability will be the chairperson and the vice-chairperson and then there is a comma, then &a youth and two women appointed by the President. It sounds as if it is the youth and two women appointed by the President. So, the whole clause really requires re-drafting.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: No, if it requires re-drafting, how are you re-drafting it because we have to move -(Interruption)
 
MR LUKWAGO: To improve on it, I think this sub clause should be broken down into two: one about the composition of the commission and two, about the chairperson and vice-chairperson. So, we should have them as two separate clauses.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Make the formulation.
 
MR LUKWAGO: The commission shall consist of five members at least one of whom - (Laughter) Mr Chairman, allow me draft it and then I read it out.
 
MR WACHA: Let me try:
 
(i)  The commission shall consist of five members appointed by the President.
 

(ii)  In making the appointment under clause (i), the President shall ensure that either the chairperson or the vice- chairperson is a person with disability. (Laughter) I said I was trying; you failed. (Laughter)

 
(iii)  Of the other members of the commission, one of the members shall be a youth and two other members shall be women then you continue from there. Now I saw the chairperson jumping up and down; you jump at me.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: It seems we have agreed on the principle so what we need is the language or the formulation. Maybe what we can do is to give some people time to go down and write it out as we proceed with others. Is that okay?
 
Clause 5
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, Clause 5 on the tenure of office of a member of the commission, I beg to propose that new sub-clauses be inserted after sub-clause (3) as follows:
 
(4) A member of the commission shall not be removed from office -
(a)  under paragraph 3(a) unless the medical board certifies that the person concerned is unable to perform the functions of his or her office;
(b)  under paragraphs 3(b) to (d), unless the person concerned is notified in writing and given an opportunity to defend himself or herself.
 
 (5) Where a member is removed from office under this section, the President may appoint another person in accordance with Section 5 to replace that person and the person appointed shall hold the office for the remainder of the term of the member removed.
 
The justification is to give a process of removal from office of members of the commission so that a member is not removed without being given a chance to be heard. Sub-clause (5) also deals with filling of a vacancy of a member removed from office to bring it near to where the vacancy comes into existence. Mr Chairman, I beg to move.
 
MRS BBUMBA: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. What the committee has proposed is fair, as it should not be allowed for people to assume that somebody has gone berserk and is given a termination letter. The medical board will have to certify and I think according to the law of natural justice, it is proper that people are given an opportunity to be heard. I concede to the amendment.
 
MR WACHA: Under (4)(a), Sir, A member of the commission shall not be removed from office under paragraph 3(a) unless the medical board certifies that the person concerned is unable to perform the functions of the commission. We are talking about the commission in this case.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: That is okay.
 
MR WASIKE: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I am getting problems with where we set up laws. Each commission, much as it is similar to another commission, be provided with different conditions of service, different ways of removal and different ways of coming on board. I would have been comfortable if, for example, we looked at how an Electoral Commission or Human Rights Commission member get off the commission. How does any other member of a commission leave a commission so that we apply the general principles? This is because when we have separate principles for separate commissions, it is a bit disturbing. My view is that we generalize the principles.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Why do you think that these proposals are different from others?
 
MR WASIKE: I have looked at the ones for Public Service Commission, Judicial Service Commission and even the courts ruling on how you can remove a Judicial Service Commission member and they are very different. But all these are commissions, therefore, we should have general principles.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: And therefore?
 
MR WASIKE: Mr Chairman, I would propose that we use the principles as provided for in the (Interruption)
 
THE CHAIRMAN: When a proposal is made, you are entitled to move an amendment.
 
MR NDEEZI: Thank you, Mr Chairman and thank you honourable member, for giving way. The information I want to give is that, the committees proposal takes into account the concerns of the honourable member. In the Bill there have not been sufficient attempts to link the powers, say, to other commissions. What we are trying to do is to ensure that the powers are similar to that of other commissions. Therefore, I want to assure my friend, your concerns are taken into account by this amendment.
 
MR WASIKE: Mr Chairman, I would request for some minutes so that I can get the provisions of these other commissions I am referring to and then I will come back.
 
MR KAWANGA: I suspect the honourable member wants to suggest that the formulation, which occurs in other commissions, should be the one that should be used here. But on my own behalf, I just want to find out under (b), when you say, &unless the person concerned is notified in writing and given an opportunity to defend himself or herself, before who? In what form? It will be very useful to indicate.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: No, it is clear in that, a person who wants to remove another person has to notify the person concerned so that if he wants to defend himself, he does so. I think it is implied.
 
MR LUKWAGO: I think here the appointing authority is the President, Mr Chairman, and we have a problem with that. For a President who is vested with powers to appoint and disappoint to issue a notice to a chairperson of a commission that, Please, come and defend yourself before me before I sack you, I think it will be difficult. Under such circumstances, I support the idea that we probably come up with a tribunal composed of people of higher integrity and those other requirements, which are there like he was drawing a parallel with those in judicial service that you cannot remove a judicial officer before an inquiry is done.
 
Even with the LC 3 or LC 5 chairperson, there is a tribunal established to investigate their allegations. In this case, Mr Chairman, I think that was the proposal.
 
Again, Mr Chairman, there is this sub-clause (5) where they have used the word may. I am again seeking clarification why may and not shall? Because they are saying, Where a member is removed from office under this section, the President may appoint any other person, when it is mandatory in the previous clauses that the commission shall be composed of five members. So here you are giving room to the President whether to appoint or not. Therefore, the commission can remain with four or even less members in case the President exercises his discretion in such a way that he does not appoint. I think the drafting of this clause also needs some amendment.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, but the impression that I am getting from members submissions, especially regarding defective formulations, is that although these reports were distributed to members sometime back they have not read them. This is because if you had read the report and the proposed amendments and you disagreed with the formulation you should have come with an amendment. You do not just think of an amendment when the proposal is read here.
 
You had this over the weekend but -(Interruption)- so, you did not have the copies? You see, last week we dealt with the general debate and we had the second reading. Actually if it was not a question we would have gone even to the committee stage but we adjourned so that the committee stage is considered today. So, by the time we adjourned members had the reports. It is only that maybe for one reason or another they had not read them. Otherwise, we are going to be bogged down by people requesting for more time to go and make formulations. Is that what you think?
 
MRS SENINDE: Mr Chairman, I just want to seek a clarification from the chairperson on part (b) where it says under paragraph 3(b),  A person concerned is notified in writing and given an opportunity to defend himself or herself. The clarification I seek is, to whom?
 
THE CHAIRMAN: The person who is going to be removed is the one you address.
 
MR OCHIENG: Mr Chairman, I am seeking clarification on sub-clause (5) where it says, The President may appoint any person in accordance with Section 5. I have looked at other formulations and I will give you an example of electoral laws of this country where they say that sometimes replacing people within a short period, when their term is almost expiring, is a problem.
 
I see a scenario here where when we use the word may it may be okay but if we use what the shadow attorney general is saying, then it will mean that even if it is within two weeks or one month to the expiry of the term, it will be mandatory for the President to appoint a person who will only go there and serve for one or two weeks as we see the formulation here. I find it a bit wanting that we make this clear. Thank you.
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, I take the amendment by hon. Wacha that instead of his or her office, we include, the functions of the commission.
 
As regards what hon. Lukwago was raising, I concur with my colleague because in case a member dies when he is remaining with two weeks to the end of the term and you include there the word shall that means the President will be compelled to fill that office be it within one week or two days to the end of the term of the commission. So, I ask my colleague, hon. Lukwago, to accept the proposed amendment by the committee and leave there the word may so that we leave it flexible to the appointing authority. Thank you.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.
 
Clause 6
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, I beg to move that a new clause be inserted after Clause 5 as follows:
 
Oath of members of the commission: Every member of the commission shall, before assuming his or her duties under this Act, take and subscribe to the oath specified in the Second Schedule to this Act.
 
The justification is re-arrangement of clauses to deal with taking oath before remuneration of members is provided for.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: That is clear. This is a new clause to provide for taking oath before you assume the office.
 
MRS BBUMBA: I thank you very much, Mr Chairman. This is a relocation of what was previously Clause 8 to this new place so we have no problem with it.
 

THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question. Those in favour say Aye to the contrary Nay.
 

(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 6
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, I beg to move that Clause 6 be replaced with the following:
Remuneration and allowances of members of the commission: Emoluments of members of the commission shall be prescribed by Parliament and shall be a charge on the Consolidated Fund.
 
The justification is to bring it in line with other commissions. I beg to move.
 
MRS BBUMBA: Mr Chairman, we concede to the re-arrangement.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question. Those in favour say Aye to the contrary Nay.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 6, as amended, agreed to.
 
Clause 7 agreed to.
 
Clause 8
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, I beg to move that Clause 8 be deleted and the justification is that the clause is relocated between clauses 5 and 6. I beg to move.
 
MRS BBUMBA: Mr Chairman, we concede to the deletion.
 

THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question. Those in favour say Aye to the contrary Nay.
 

(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 9
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, I beg to propose that Clause 9(2) be amended by inserting after the word chairperson appearing at the end of the sub-clause the following expression, &and perform such other functions as the chairperson or the commission may assign.
 
The justification is to allow the chairperson and the commission to assign work to the vice-chairperson so that he or she is not redundant because he or she is waiting for the chairperson to be away. I beg to move.
 

THE CHAIRMAN: Is that clear? I put the question.
 

(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 9, as amended, agreed to.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Before we proceed, honourable members, this afternoon in the Distinguished Strangers Gallery we have Members of Parliament from the Kenya National Assembly. The MPs are Members of the Fiscal Analysis and Appropriation Committee and they are accompanied by resources staff and members of the Parliamentary Network of World Bank, East African Chapter. They are here to witness how the legislature operates in Uganda. You are most welcome our distinguished guests! (Applause)
 
Clause 10
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, Clause 10 under members of commission to relinquish particular offices, the clause is amended to include a member of the East African Legislative Assembly.
 
The justification is that, a member of the East African Legislative Assembly is in the same category as a Member of Parliament and should also relinquish the office if appointed a member of the commission. I beg to move.
 
MRS BBUMBA: Mr Chairman, a member of the East African Legislative Assembly is in exactly the same category as a Member of Parliament and is paid from the Consolidated Fund so, if he is appointed, he/she should resign.
 

THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 

(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 10, as amended, agreed to.
 
Clause 11
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, Clause 11 secretary and other staff of commission sub-clause (1) is replaced with the following: The commission shall have a secretary who shall be a public officer appointed by the commission in consultation with the Public Service Commission on terms and conditions determined by the commission in consultation with the Public Service Commission and specified in his or her instrument of appointment.
 
The justification is to make the commission be in charge of appointment and ensure allegiance of the secretary to the commission. Mr Chairman, I beg to move.
 

THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 

(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 11, as amended, agreed to.
 
Clause 12 agreed to.
 
Clause 13
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, Clause 13, meeting and procedure of commission. Sub-clause (1), (4) and (5) are replaced as follows:
 
(1) The commission shall meet for the discharge of business at least once in every three months at such time and place as the commission may determine and the chairperson shall convene all the meetings.
 
(4) The chairperson shall preside at every meeting of the commission and in the absence of the chairperson, the vice-chairperson shall preside. In the absence of both the chairperson and the vice-chairperson, the members present shall elect one of their numbers to preside at the meeting.
 
(5) The quorum for a meeting of the commission shall be three members and all decisions at a meeting of the commission shall as far as possible be arrived at by consensus.
 
The justification in case of sub-clauses (1) and (4) is for clarity. In the case of sub-clause (5) it is to give a specific number for the quorum.
 
In sub-clause (2), Mr Chairman, I beg to move that we replace the word four appearing in the last line with the word three. The justification is that, the quorum is three members. If four members must make a request then the number would be too high. In fact, that would mean all the members must request. I beg to move.
 

THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 

(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 13, as amended, agreed to.
 
Clause 14
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, Clause 14, seal of commission. I beg to move that the seal be deleted and the justification is that, the clause was taken forward nearer to the establishment of the commission.
 
MRS BBUMBA: Yes, Mr Chairman, it is already dealt with.
 

THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 

(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 15
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, Clause 15, functions and powers of the commission. I beg to move that the clause be replaced to read as follows:
 
Functions of the commission:
 
(1) The functions of the commission are to monitor, evaluate and ensure that policies, laws, plans, programmes, activities, practices, traditions, cultures, usages and customs of:
 

(a)  organs of state at all levels,
(b)  statutory bodies and agencies,
(c)  public bodies and authorities,
(d)  private businesses and enterprises,
(e)  non-governmental organisations and
(f)  social and cultural communities
 

are compliant with equal opportunities and affirmative action in favour of groups marginalized on the basis of sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, tribe, creed, religion, social or economic standing, political opinion, disability, gender, age or any other reason created by history, tradition or custom.
 
(2) without prejudice to the generality of sub-section (1) the commission may 
 
(a) investigate or inquire into, on its own initiative or on a complaint made by any person or group of persons, any act, circumstance, conduct, omission, programme, activity or practice which seems to amount or constitute discrimination, marginalization or to otherwise undermine equal opportunities.
 
(b)  examine any law, proposed law, policy, culture, tradition, usage, custom or plan which is likely to have the effect of nullifying or impairing equal opportunities to persons in employment or enjoyment of human rights.
 
(c)  develop, conduct and manage information and educational programmes to facilitate and promote public awareness, understanding and acceptance of equal opportunities and treatment in employment, occupation, education and all social services;
 
(d)  undertake research and organise, coordinate and promote workshops, seminars, conferences and public discussions on equal opportunities and treatment in employment, education social services or social and cultural construct of roles and responsibilities in society;
 
(e)  consider such recommendations, suggestions and requests concerning the promotion of equal opportunities as it may receive from any source;
 
(f) prepare and publish, guidelines for implementation of equal opportunities and the avoidance of acts, practices, usage, customs, traditions or cultures that undermine equal opportunities;
  
(g)  monitor the compliance, in Uganda, with the provisions of international and regional conventions, treaties and other instruments to which Uganda is a party that relate to or are relevant to the functions and objects of the Commission;
 
(h)  perform such other functions that are incidental or conducive to the above functions.
 
3. The commission may rectify, settle or remedy any act, omission, circumstances, practice, tradition, culture, usage or custom that is found to constitute discrimination, marginalisation or which otherwise undermines equal opportunities through mediation, conciliation, negotiation settlement or other dispute resolution mechanism.
 
4. Subject to sub-section (3), the Commission may hear and determine complaints by any person against any action, practice, usage, plan, policy, programme, tradition, culture or custom followed by any organ, body, business, organisation, institution or person which amounts to discrimination, marginalisation or undermines equal opportunities.
 
The justification, Mr Chairman, is to streamline the functions and the powers. I beg to move.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to)
 
Clause 15, as amended, agreed to
 
Clause 16
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, clause 16 is on Special Powers of Commission. I beg to move that the clause is replaced to read as follows:
 
Powers of Commission
 
1.  In the performance of its functions under this Act, the Commission shall have the powers of a court to: -
a) require the attendance before the commission of any person;
b)  require the production of any books, papers or documents;
c)  inspect any books, papers, materials or documents produced before it or otherwise and-
(i)  retain any such books, papers, materials or documents for such reasonable period as the commission deems fit;
(ii)  make copies of any of them or their contents.
d) require any person to make oath or affirmation to answer truthfully all questions put by members of the Commission relating to any matter being inquired into by the commission.
e)  require any person appearing before the commission, including the person whose conduct is subject to an inquiry, whether summoned to appear or not, to answer any question put by any member of the commission or by any other person appearing before the commission.
 
2. Subject to sub-section (3), where a person:-
a)  who has been served with summons to attend before the commission fails without reasonable excuse to attend in obedience to the summons; or
b)  who has been served with summons to produce any books, papers, materials or documents fails without reasonable excuse to comply with the summons;
c)  misbehaves before the commission, wilfully insults the commission or a member of the commission, or interrupts the proceedings of the commission;
d)  refuses to be sworn or to affirm or to answer a question when required to do so by the commission; that person commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding 100 currency points or imprisonment not exceeding nine months or both.
 
3.  In the course of its proceedings, the commission may-
a)  receive in evidence the transcript of evidence in proceedings before a court or tribunal and draw such conclusions of fact from that evidence as it considers proper; or
b)  adopt, as in its discretion it considers proper, any findings, decision or judgment of a court or tribunal that may be relevant to the proceedings.
 
4.  In the discharge of its functions, the commission may-
a) refer any matter to any other institution, body, tribunal or authority which, in the opinion of the commission, can best handle that matter;
b) recommend to or order any institution, body, authority or person to adopt or take particular steps or action which, in the opinion of the commission, will promote equal opportunities;
c) recommend to any Minister, institution, body or authority to adopt a new legislation which is promoting equal opportunities, and the institution, body, authority person or Minister shall implement or cause the implementation of the recommendation within six months from the date of communication or the recommendation.
 
5.  The commission may, in writing, delegate to a member of the commission any of its powers or functions under this Act other than this power of delegation.
 
6.  The commission shall not investigate-
a)  any matter which is pending before a court or judicial tribunal or is under investigation by another constitutional commission.
b)   a matter involving the relations or dealings between the Government of Uganda and the government of any foreign state or international organisation; or
c)  a matter relating to the exercise of the prerogative of mercy.
 
Mr Chairman, in our amendment the following new sub-clause 6(d), is inserted immediately after sub-clause 6(c) to read as follows: any matter involving behaviour which is considered to be-
 
i)   immoral and socially harmful; or
ii)  unacceptable by the majority of the cultural and social communities in Uganda.
 
7.  In the performance of its functions, the commission-
a)  may establish its operational guidelines and Rules of Procedure.
b)  may request the assistance of any department, bureau, office, agency or person in the performance of its functions; and
c)  shall observe the rules of natural justice.
 
Mr Chairman, the amendments that we have moved are to streamline the functions and powers. Thank you. I beg to move.
 
MRS BBUMBA: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. I accept most of the amendments except the one under sub-clause 4(a), which says: In discharge of its functions, the commission may-a) refer any matter to any other institution, body, tribunal or authority& Here I want to propose that instead of any other institution we put a competent court. It would then read, &the commission may refer to any matter to a competent court, body, tribunal or authority which, in the opinion of the commission, can best handle that matter. I beg to move.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I think the intention here is that a body like the Human Rights Commission should handle the matter. They may also came to the conclusion that the matter can best be handled by IGG and not necessarily court. It may not be a court issue but something that needs to be investigated by a more competent organ. I think that is the idea behind the suggestion. It includes the court, actually.
 
MRS BBUMBA: Sir, with that guidance, I withdraw my proposal. On the amendment on immoral behaviour or generally unacceptable conduct by the majority of our people, it is very important that we include that clause. This is because the homosexuals and the like have managed to forge their way through in other countries by identifying with minorities. If it is not properly put in the clause, they can easily find their way through fighting discrimination. They can claim that since they are part of the minority, they can fight against marginalisation.
 
MR KYANJO: Thank you, Mr Chairman. My concern is on sub-clause 6(c), which says: - The commission shall not investigate a matter relating to the exercise of the prerogative of mercy. I am seeking clarification. The prerogative of mercy is exercised by the President and it is in the form of an opportunity offered to someone. I find it lacking, just in case the appointing authority seems to see just one group of people to be given the prerogative of mercy. I want clarification. Thank you.
 
DR MAKUBUYA: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I appreciate the concern being raised by hon. Kyanjo. I refer to Article 121 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. The marginal note is Prerogative of Mercy. With your permission, Mr Chairman, let me read the vital parts: -
(1) There shall be an advisory committee on the Prerogative of Mercy which shall consist of- (a) the Attorney-General who shall be the chairperson; and (b) six prominent citizens of Uganda appointed by the President.
      
(2) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a member of the committee if he or she is a member of Parliament, the Uganda Law Society or a district council.
 
(3) A member appointed under clause (1) (b) of this article shall serve for a period of four years and shall cease to be a member of the committee 
 
(a)  if circumstances arise that would disqualify him or her from appointment; or
(b)   if removed by the President for inability to perform the functions of his or her office arising from infirmity of body or mind or for misbehaviour, misconduct or incompetence.
 
(4) The President may, on the advice of the committee-
 
(a)  grant to any person convicted of an offence a pardon either free or subject to lawful conditions;
(b)  grant to a person a respite, either indefinite or for a specified period, from the execution of punishment imposed on him or her for an offence;
(c)  Substitute a less severe form of punishment for a punishment imposed on a person for an offence; or
(d)  remit the whole or part of a punishment imposed on a person or of a penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to Government on account of any offence.
 
(5) Where a person is sentenced to death for an offence, a written report of the case from the trial judge or judges or person presiding over the court or tribunal, together with such other information derived from the record of the case or elsewhere as may be necessary, shall be submitted to the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy.
 
(6) A reference in this article to conviction or imposition of a punishment, sentence or forfeiture includes conviction or imposition of a punishment, penalty, sentence or forfeiture by a court martial or other military tribunal except a field court martial.
 
Mr Chairman, I have read this provision out in order to explain that what the amendment is proposing is good practice. It is good practice the world over that matters of the prerogative of mercy handled by that committee on prerogative of mercy normally are not referred to other tribunals of inquiry. I thank you, Sir.
 
MR GAGAWALA WAMBUZI: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I stood up to ask for clarification from the honourable minister and the chairperson of the committee on the issue of morality being incorporated. I want to know whether our ladies may not suffer some inconvenience at some stage particularly on the issues of dress code, which might come up and become a very controversial society issue.
 
For our ladies in the whole of Uganda, big and small, young and old, this issue of dress code can become serious. Some ladies may want very short skirts, others in Karamoja may want to actually move without anything and others may want to put on (Interjections)- As I said, I am just wondering whether she is comfortable with it. I wonder whether she has thought through it so that later when it comes, as you know we are following affirmative action and it is really for the ladies, I feel that I need to be made comfortable. Thank you, Mr Chairman.
 
MS BBUMBA: Mr Chairman, I want to thank my honourable colleague for his concern for their ladies. We have already taken into account those kinds of concerns. What we are trying to do is to ensure that their ladies are not discriminated. If the code of dress is going to be the cause of their discrimination, then that is a matter which is going to be dealt with by the commission.
 
MR WASIKE: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I just have a concern on the powers of the commission being equivalent to a court. A court is not defined. In this country we have LC courts, magistrate courts, High Court and some courts, which are higher. I would have been comfortable if instead of just saying a court, because each lawyer may interpret it differently, we specify the court. I would have been comfortable with the powers being equal to a High Court, so we would add the word High. If not, we would say the powers are equal to a magistrates court. Now if we read it, is it an LC court, magistrates court, High Court; which court?
 
MS BBUMBA: Mr Chairman, court is defined in the interpretation and it means a court of competent jurisdiction.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 16, as amended, agreed to.
 
Clause 17
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, clause 17 is on special functions of the commission relating to equal opportunities. I beg to move that the clause be deleted. The justification is that the clause has been incorporated in clause 15, dealing with functions of the commissions. I beg to move.
 
MS BBUMBA: I concur with the amendment, Sir.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 18
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, clause 18, periodical and annual reports. I propose the clause be deleted. The justification is that it will be included in Part V of the miscellaneous provisions, to streamline the parts. I beg to move.
 
MR NANDALA-MAFABI: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. I think annual reports are quite important in the activities of any organisation like this one. I would want the committee to allow (Interjections)- but we cannot relocate until we reach there. I think what we do is leave it here. If you want to relocate, you can do it later. I am suggesting that we still retain clause 18 as it is.
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, there is one report and we are handling it as a report of the committee, as a whole.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 19
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, clause 19, Independence of the Commission. I beg to move that the clause be deleted. The justification is that it moved forward near the establishment of the commission to highlight the type of body established. I beg to move
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 20
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, clause 20, delegation by the commission. I beg to move that the clause be deleted. The justification is that the provision is included in the clause dealing with powers of the commission. I beg to move.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 21
 
MS BINTU: Clause 21- Investigations by the Commission. I beg to move that the clause be deleted. The justification is that sub-clauses (1) and (2) are already included in the clause dealing with functions. Sub-clause (3), a clause dealing with lodging of complaints, is recommended under Part V as a substantive clause. I beg to move.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 22
 
MS BINTU: Clause 22- Affirmative Action. Mr Chairman, I beg to move that the clause be deleted. The justification is that the clause has been included in the clause dealing with functions. I beg to move.
 
(Question put and agreed to)
 
Clause 23
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, clause 23- Immunity from liability. I beg to move that clause 23 be deleted. The justification is that the recommendation is made to incorporate it under Part V. I beg to move.
 
 
THE SPEAKER: I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 24
 
MS BINTU: Clause 24 (1)- Legal counsel: I beg to move that this clause be deleted. The justification is that in sub clause (1) there is no need for the Attorney-General to be given a permanent right to attend meetings of the commission. The commission has a right to request any expert or consultant to attend its meetings to advise the commission.
sub-clause (2) is recommended to be under Part V. I beg to move.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 25
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, on General Provisions- the title of Part (V) is amended by replacing the word General with the word Miscellaneous. The justification is that there are various provisions dealing with different unrelated issues. I beg to move.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
MR NANDALA-MAFABI: Clause 25 talks about funds of the commission. And under (a) is money appropriated by Parliament but under (b) they are talking of loans and grants both within and without. The clarification I want to seek from the chairperson is; we know very well these loans which come here from outside [Members: We are not dealing with Clause 25.] Okay, I apologise if we are not dealing with clause 25.
 
THE SPEAKER: I put the question (Interruption)
 
MR NANDALA-MAFABI: Mr Chairman, that is where I was. Part (a) is okay. Part (b), when you talk about loans within or outside Uganda, it is common knowledge that loans which come from outside Uganda are approved by Parliament and all loans and grants are always appropriated in the budget here. Now if you say these are different from those appropriated by the budget in Parliament, it makes a contradiction. I would suggest that we delete (b).
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Does providing such a thing here in the Act remove the constitutional requirement for approval, if necessary? First of all, you provide it here, but for it to be achieved, you have to follow the procedure laid down in the Constitution.
I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 26, agreed to.
 
Clause 27, agreed to.
 
Clause 28, agreed to.
 
Clause 29, agreed to.
 
Clause 30, agreed to.
 
Clause 31, agreed to.
 
Clause 32
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, I beg to move that new clauses be inserted immediately before clause 32 as follow- Lodging complaints:
1.  A person or group of persons may lodge a complaint relating to discrimination, marginalisation or any act, which undermines or impairs equal opportunities with the commission.
2.  A complaint made under sub-section (1) shall be in writing and signed by the complainant or complainants.
3.  The commission shall consider or hear the complaint within six months after receipt of the complaint.
The justification is that a substantive clause dealing with lodging of complaints is required. I beg to move.
 
MRS BBUMBA: Mr Chairman, since the major responsibility of the commission is to sort out issues of marginalisation, either through their own research or complaints lodged with them, the amendment being made here on lodging of complaints is appropriate.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, there is another new clause on reports by the commission. I beg to move that this clause be inserted:
 
1.  The commission may at any time submit a report to the minister on any matter arising during the course of the performance of its functions under this Act and shall when requested to do so submit a report on any matter to the minister.
 
2.  The commission shall publish and disseminate periodic reports on its findings and shall submit annual reports to Parliament on the state of equal opportunities in the country.
 
3.  The annual reports referred to in sub-section 2 above shall be signed by the chairperson addressed to the Speaker of Parliament with a copy to the President.
 
The justification is that various clauses scattered in the Bill are brought together under on clause. I beg to move.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, there are so many clauses and I am seeking clarification. Should we move one by one?
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes -(Laughter)
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, I propose that a new clause reading: Bills to have impact assessment be inserted. All Bills introduced in Parliament for enactment shall be accompanied by a memorandum of Equal Opportunities impact assessment. The chairperson of the commission shall sign the memorandum and the justification is to ensure that all Bills take into consideration equal opportunities issues- (Laughter) I beg to move.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: You mean you bring a Forest Bill, Animal Bill -
 
MRS BBUMBA: Mr Chairman, where as I accept the commission being proactive, I think we need to be mindful of other things. The time it will take especially when the commission is still in its infancy, to vet and issue the clean certificate of equal opportunity compliance, I think may not be that beneficial. Instead, given the powers, what the ministers should do is to issue regulations to centres formulating Bills to take into account issues of marginalisation, instead of having the Bills being vetted at that stage, Mr Chairperson.
 
MRS MWESIGYE: Mr Chairman, in addition to what the Minister of Gender has just stated, we have a full time Equal Opportunities Standing Committee of Parliament and I think part of its functions is to ensure that the Bills that come before Parliament are gender and equal opportunities compliant. I would, therefore, suggest that the committees chairperson becomes vigilant in addition to the instruments that the minister has just stated that Cabinet will put in place.
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, the Bill which the Minister presented to this House  actually the Commission once put in place- one of its roles will be to evaluate any existing Act or written law, any existing system or personal or family law or custom. When they start evaluating, I believe that is when they will be identifying the gaps that are fallen. If we include this clause of impact assessment, we shall be assisting this commission not to have a heavy schedule before them. We shall also address most of these gaps during the legislative process at a policy level. When it comes to the final stage, we shall not have problems of trying to look at those gaps that are fallen by virtue of missing the equal opportunities element.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: No, but when Bills are published, the purpose of publishing Bills in a gazette is to give notice to the public and all stake holders on what is happening. Therefore, I would imagine that this commission should also take this opportunity to study the Bill and if it thinks there are negative things, then it should bring them to the attention of those concerned. But otherwise, it is too much. I do not know.
 
MR LUKWAGO: Mr Chairman I rise to support the minister. We have a problem with this clause. We have the Acts of Parliament Act, which governs these various Bills. When you look at this requirement, it is more or less like a clause that seeks to regulate all other Bills that come before Parliament. That at best can only be a constitutional clause requirement. If it was inserted in the Constitution, probably it would make sense, but to smuggle it into another Bill again to regulate the clauses of other Bills that will come before this House, such a mandate will be unfortunate.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 
(Question put and negatived.)
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, I beg to move that another new clause be inserted Representation by counsel: A person appearing before the commission may be represented by counsel. The justification is that this clause has been relocated to be under the appropriate part. I beg to move.
 
MR LUKWAGO: Mr Chairman, I propose that we use the word advocate instead of counsel, and secondly we add at that persons expense because it will remain ambiguous if you make it a right that one has got a right to appear with his counsel or advocate. We have had problems before  it is there in the Local governments Act that where there is a motion seeking to censure a chairperson and it tabled before a tribunal, the chairperson has got a right of representation. So, we have had debates before these tribunals whether the district should pay the costs for the legal representation.
 
I wish to inform this House that one time I was a beneficially of that confusion and I should disclose this to you. Mr Chairman. I had a matter in Iganga and the district ended up paying the costs for legal representation of the chairman and what happened  there was a lot hullabaloo about that issue. To remove that kind of ambiguity, let us make it very clear that it is at this persons expense not the expense of the commission.
 
MRS BBUMBA: Mr Chairman, as an assessor, I do not know the difference between counsel and advocate. If the two mean the same, there is no problem having counsel/advocate, but if the two mean different things - (Interruption)
 
THE CHAIRMAN: May be we can put legal counsel.
 
MRS BBUMBA: Okay. But the amendment which hon. Lukwago has proposed regarding the cost is very important. Already government is over burdened with lots of legal costs. It is important that for clarity, we put there at his/her cost.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, I beg to move that a new clause be inserted on immunity of Members of the Commission Staff. A member of the commission or an employee of the commission or any other person performing any other function of the commission under the direction of the commission shall not be personally liable to any civil proceedings for any act done in good faith in the performance of the functions or the exercise of the powers of the commission under this act.
The justification is that this clause has been re-located to be under the appropriate part.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, a new clause be inserted on immunity of witness. A witness appearing before the commission shall have the same immunities and privileges as is he/she were a witness before a court of law. The justification is that this clause has been re-located to suit sequence. I beg to move.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, a new clause be inserted on attendance allowance.
1.  Any person summoned to appear before the commission as a witness is entitled to be paid by way of reimbursement of his or her expenses, such allowance as is payable to a witness appearing before a court in criminal proceedings.
 
2.  Any other person invited by the commission to attend any meeting, to assist the commission may be paid such allowances as the commission may consider reasonable.
 
The justification is that this clause has been relocated to suit sequence. I beg to move.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question that clause 32 as amended stand part of the Bill.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 33
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, the clauses that I have been reading came in before clause 32. I beg that we move to clause 32.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: They were before clause 32- Ok, clause 32. I put the question that clause 32 stand part of the Bill.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 33
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, I beg to move that clause 33 be deleted and the justification is that it is re-located earlier to suit sequence.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 34
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, I beg to move that clause 34 be deleted because it has been re-located earlier to suit sequence.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
Clause 35
 

MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, I beg to move that clause 35 be replaced to read as follows:

Application of Court rules.

Where the Rules of Procedure of the commission do not provide for a particular matter before the commission rules applicable to civil or criminal proceedings in a court of law may be applied by the commission with such modifications as may be necessary.
 
The justification is that an aggrieved person will appeal from the commission to the High Court. It is therefore a lesser court than the High Court and should use rules of a lesser court. I beg to move.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question (Interruption)
 
MR LUKWAGO: Mr Chairman, I am seeking clarification. This amendment sounds a bit ambiguous in as far as the rules applicable; it is saying rules applicable to civil or criminal proceedings in a court of law. It is not clear as to which court. We have different courts with different rules of procedure. We have magistrates courts, High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and other courts. This is quite ambiguous.
 
We should have specific rules of procedure, which are applicable such that if it is the Magistrates Courts we should be clear and they are saying in civil or criminal proceedings. It is equally ambiguous if you are saying civil or criminal proceedings. Which rules of procedure in criminal proceedings? Is it the Magistrates Court Act, is it the Trial of Indictment Act and many others? We need to recast this particular amendment. I am seeking clarification on this.
 
MS BBUMBA: Mr Chairperson, reading as an assessor, under clause 34, the rules being referred to here are described as High Court rules.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 
MR LUKWAGO: Before the question is put, Mr Chairman, we get a statement from the same amendment that this commission is subordinate to High Court and that is the justification given here. If it is subordinate to the High Court, how can it have the same rules governing it when in the justification it is clearly stated that, one, that a person can have a right of appeal to the High Court where he will be regulated by the same rules. So, there is still a problem with this. I need further clarification.
 
DR MAKUBUYA: Thank you, Mr Chairman. The amendment provides that the commission will make its own rules of procedure but in case there are gaps, a matter comes before it and there are gaps, then it can resort to the rules of procedure of the High Court. Primarily, the commission will be making its own rules of procedure. But since you cannot envisage everything that may develop before it, they are saying that rather than an issue collapsing you can refer to the existing rules of procedure of the High Court.
 
Mr Chairman, if I may say so, this is not entirely peculiar. There are laws which provide for other laws in our system which provide for this kind of thing. The primary responsibility for making the rules of procedure will be with the commission, but they are providing that in case there is something, which they havent foreseen then refer to the existing rules of procedure of the High Court.
 
The contradiction is not clear to me because the fact that you have applied one or two rules of procedure to cover up a gap does not mean that you are changing the status of this commission in the system. That one does not change it at all. You are just assisting parties appearing before the commission to have their cases processed. I thank you, Sir.
 
MR LUKWAGO: Mr Chairman, the problem is with this proposed amendment. When you look at the proposed amendment, it seeks to replace clause 35 and this proposed amendment makes no mention whatsoever of the applicability of the High Court - it doesnt. It is instead the original clause, which the amendment seeks to replace which talks about the application of the rules of procedure governing the High Court.
 
In that case, if the Attorney-General maintains that we apply the rules of procedure of the High Court, and then we retain the clause in the original text and reject this proposed amendment if that is what he is saying. I would agree with him that this proposed amendment be rejected and we retain the clause as it is in the original text.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: You see what is happening with this formulation, is that it presupposes that the commission will have rules, but these rules may not be comprehensive enough. They may not cover certain situations and therefore there will be lack of rules to deal with particular situations. Where there is a situation for which the commissions rules are not provided for, you will resort to the rules that are set. It is only when the rules are covered that you resort to the other rules. I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
(Clause 35, as amended, agreed to.)
 
Clause 36
 
MS BINTU: Mr Chairman, clause 36 is in essence relating to administration of the Act, sub-clause 1, I beg to move that a new paragraph (c) be inserted after paragraph (b) to read as follows: A person implementing an order of the commission. A new paragraph (d), be inserted after paragraph (c) to read as follows: Contravenes or refuses to implement any order or settlement made by the commission. 
 
The justification is to ensure that any person interfering with the person implementing an order of the commission is punished and to enable the commission enforce its order. I beg to move.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
(Clause 36, as amended, agreed to.)
 
(Clause 37, agreed to.)
 
Clause 4
 
MR OKUMU: Mr Chairman, I propose the following formulation under the composition of commission:
1.  The commission shall consist of five members, including the chairperson and vice chairperson.
 
2.  In appointing the commission, the President shall ensure regional balance, inclusion of the opposition and the presence of youth, women and persons with disability.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: That is the proposal.
 
MAJ. KINOBE: Mr Chairman, there is an alternative proposal here. First of all, it splits them into two as follows:
(i)  By creating another, sub-clause 1 to read: The commission shall consist of five members who shall include the chairperson, vice chairperson and the composition of the membership shall include at least a person with a disability, a youth and two women.
 
(ii)  The President with the approval of Parliament shall appoint members of the commission.  Then the current (2) becomes (3), members of the commission and so forth. I beg to move.
 
MR LUKWAGO: I would support that proposal, but unfortunately it is not clear as to who shall elect the chairperson and the vice chairperson. How are they going to be elected?
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Normally the Appointing Authority designates. Because when the Appointing Authority makes these appointments or nominations, he indicates whom he wants to be the chairman and vice chairman.
 
There is a proposal by hon. Okumu Reagan, which you have heard. So, I put the question.
 
(Question put and negatived.)
 
THE CHAIRMAN: Then there is a proposal by hon. Kinobe. I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
(Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.)
 
Clause 38
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question that clause 38 stand part of the Bill.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
The First Schedule
 

THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question that the First Schedule stand as the schedule of the Bill.
 

(Question put and agreed to.)
 
 
The Second Schedule
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 

The Title
 

THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question that the Title stand as the title of the Bill.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
MOTION FOR THE HOUSE TO RESUME
 

5.12

THE MINISTER OF GENDER, LABOUR AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (Mrs Syda Bbumba): Mr Chairman, I beg to move that the House do resume and the Committee of the whole House reports thereto. I beg to move.
 
THE CHAIRMAN: I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
(The House resumed, the Speaker presiding.)
 
REPORT FROM THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE
 

5.13

THE MINISTER OF GENDER, LABOUR AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (Mrs Syda Bbumba): Mr Speaker and honourable members, I beg to report that the Committee of the whole House has considered the Bill entitled: The Equal Opportunities Commission Bill, 2006 and passed it with amendments. I beg to move.
 
MOTION FOR ADOPTION OF THE REPORT FROM THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE
 
5.13
THE MINISTER OF GENDER, LABOUR AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (Mrs Syda Bbumba): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the report from the Committee of the whole House be adopted. I beg to move.
 
THE SPEAKER: Honourable members, the motion is that we adopt the report of the Committee of the whole House on The Equal Opportunity Commissions Bill, 2006. I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
BILLS
THIRD READING
 
THE EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMISSION BILL, 2006
 
5.14
THE MINISTER OF GENDER, LABOUR AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (Mrs Syda Bbumba): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill entitled, The Equal Opportunities Commission Bill, 2006 be read a Third Time and do pass. I beg to move.
 
THE SPEAKER: Honourable members, the motion is that the Bill entitled, The Equal Opportunity Commission, 2006 be read for a third time and do pass. I put the question.
 
(Question put and agreed to.)
 
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED
THE EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMISSION ACT, 2006
 
THE SPEAKER: Congratulations, honourable members. This is a matter that has been hanging since 1995. It is only that recently we had the Constitution amendment, this has come, but now the Bill has been enacted. Thank you very much.
 
MS BBUMBA: Mr Speaker, I just want to congratulate members of the marginalised groups especially members of the opposite side and all members of the marginalised groups for having this very important Bill passed.
 
I would like to thank members of the committee, honourable colleagues and you, Mr Speaker, for the good guidance. Thank you very much -(Applause)
 
THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much honourable members for work done and I think it is a convenient time to adjourn. But I understand on the Order Paper there was a report on a loan. I hope you have copies. So, I appeal to you to go and read the report so that when it is presented tomorrow, you are in position to contribute effectively.
 
In future I would appeal to you to read these reports because I realised that when we were dealing with this particular Bill we have just passed - that although the reports were with you, you had not taken time to internalise them and be able to effectively participate. But anyway- yes -(Interruption)
 
5.17
MR KASSIANO WADRI (FDC, Terego County, Arua): Mr Speaker, for purposes of the record, I would like to register our appreciation to the Executive for having brought this Bill after 11 years. We have enjoyed the discussions amicably and on many occasions the opposition did come up strongly to support the purpose and intentions for which this Bill has been enacted. It is only our prayer that it shouldnt just be among our law volumes but it should be put into practice and be operationalised.
 
We have noted as the side of opposition in this Parliament that there are very many genuine constitutional commissions similar to the one that we have just enacted. But in so executing their creation, institutionalisation and operationalisation, the appointing authority, with due respect, is many times skewed towards only appointing people who favour his mind. And we are of the opinion that we are all Ugandans. Once a government is voted in, regardless of whether certain sections of the population supported it or not, it is incumbent upon it to grant and deliver services to its citizens without any discrimination.
 
 
In a similar vein, we also urge that even on these commissions, members of the different political beliefs should also be considered. I bring this out, Mr Speaker, not long ago, there was a commission for Immigration and Citizenship Board was constituted and there were very nasty happenings that took place under your chairmanship. Two of our members walked out of the Appointments Committee and I would not like such kinds of things to repeat themselves.
 
If only the appointing authority could also be considerate that there are also other minority views out there whose views are not in vain but that mean well for this country as a whole. I hope and pray that the new Minister for Gender and Labour and Social Development will be able to nationalise this commission as soon as possible. For it has taken us quite long and we badly need it. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
 
THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much, honourable members, we come to the end of todays business. The House is adjourned until tomorrow 2.00 p.m.
 
(The House rose at 5.20 p.m. and adjourned until Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 2.00 p.m.)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


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