Parliament Approves UGX 13bn for Constitutional Review Commission

Parliament has approved Shillings 13.1 billion additional funds to the Justice and Constitutional Affairs to cater for processing of amendments to the constitution by the Constitutional Review Commission.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah.
Parliament has approved 13.1 billion shillings additional funds for the Constitutional Review Commission. 

This followed a report by the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee in which the Chairperson Jacob Oboth Marksons noted that constitutional reforms were required to improve governance of the country, but the establishment of the Constitutional Review Commission requiring 13.13 billion had not been funded in the coming financial year 2019/2010.

The approval of the additional funds follows a list 14 people who were last year by appointed by government to sit on the Commission to consider various constitutional reforms.

They are the former Attorney General, Prof. Khiddu Makubuya who will be deputized by former Speaker of Parliament Francis Butagira.

The other nominated members of the Commission are Nusura Tiperu Omar, the former EALA representative, former St Francis Chapel Chaplain, Makerere University, Rev. Amos Turyahabwe, High Court advocate Paul Wanyoto, Law Development Centre lecturer Dr Diana Musoke.

Others are former MP and lawyer Dan Wandera Ogalo, former Ambassador Richard Angualia, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Charles Elem Ogwal, Uganda National Youth Council Chairperson Lillian Aber, and Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) Research Director Kamdi Byonabye. 

Appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee in January, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Kahinda Otafiire, said that the Commission was ready to start work, but were just waiting for the Ministry of Finance to avail funds.

There is increased demand for the electoral reforms ahead of the 2021 elections with the opposition arguing that the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2015 which was passed ignored many views for reforms.

However, Otafiire insisted that all reforms whether electoral or not will be handled by the new Commission.

In 2016, Supreme Court judges led by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe made 10 recommendations aimed at creating reforms that will guarantee free and fair presidential elections in 2021 and beyond. 

They directed the Attorney General (AG), who is the chief government legal adviser to follow up the recommendations and report back to court within two years. 

Some of the recommendations included extending the filing and determination period of presidential election petitions to 60 days to enable the concerned parties and court to adequately prepare and present their case, enacting a law to bar the involvement of public servants from meddling in elections and punishment of media houses, which refuse to grant equal airtime to all presidential candidates among others.  

The justices were delivering their judgment in a presidential election petition of Amama Mbabazi Versus Kaguta Museveni and 2 others.

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