Gov’t seeks more time to table electoral reforms

The Attorney General, Hon. William Byaruhanga has said that government will present the bills on electoral reforms before Parliament in two weeks’ time. Byaruhanga who made a statement to the House on Tuesday, 14 May 2019 said that, ‘the draft bills have been prepared for submission to Cabinet for approval before introduced in Parliament by the end of May 2019 for debate and enactment’.

The draft Bills constitute amendments arising out of the Supreme Court recommendations in Constitutional Petition No.1 of 2016, the European Union Election Observation Mission Report of the Uganda Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council Elections 18th February 2016, consequential amendments from the Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2018, and proposed amendments submitted to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs by the Electoral Commission.
The Attorney General told the House chaired by Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah that the amendments will be effected on the Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and the Local Governments (Amendment)bill, 2019.

Byaruhanga said that the appeals by Male Mabirizi challenging the constitutionality of the constitution (amendment) act informed the content of the electoral reform bills.
“Following the Supreme Court ruling on 18th April, 2019 in the above appeal upholding the Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2018, the Bills on electoral law reforms can now proceed without further delay, ” he added.
Hon. Wilfred Nuwagaba (Indep. Ndorwa East) sought leave of the House to present a motion on constitutional amendments which he said may not be covered by the government in the bills.
 “Since 2015 we have talked about the constitution reforms that touch the entire electoral process. We propose that we have a more comprehensive amendment that goes beyond the laws alone,” Niwagaba said.
Niwagaba among others calls for the proper and independent composition of the Electoral Commission, removal of the army from Parliament and the creation of a position of Deputy President and his election.