Bahati was making reference to proposals by Niwagaba, the shadow Attorney General, to amend several clauses of the constitution in a way that would shake up the current state structure. He, for instance, wants the size of cabinet reduced to 21 Ministers and 21 State ministers, who, however, should not be chosen from among elected Members of Parliament. The current Cabinet has 32 cabinet Ministers and 48 Ministers of Stat
Clauses in electoral bills presented to Parliament
by Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba attract a huge financial implication on the consolidated fund, far above what the government can provide. This is according
to State Minister for Planning David Bahati, speaking in Defence of the failure
by his ministry to issue a certificate of financial implication for the bills.
Bahati was making reference to proposals by Niwagaba, the
shadow Attorney General, to amend several clauses of the constitution in a way
that would shake up the current state structure. He, for instance, wants the size
of cabinet reduced to 21 Ministers and 21 State ministers, who, however, should
not be chosen from among elected Members of Parliament. The current Cabinet has
32 cabinet Ministers and 48 Ministers of State.
Niwagaba also wants
to abolish the office of the Prime Minister and that of the Vice President and
introduce the office of the Deputy President, who will be elected by Ugandans, to
take on the two roles. He also seeks to introduce a panel of speakers to advise
the office of the Speaker and preside over parliament in case the Speaker and
Deputy Speaker are indisposed.
Niwagaba was granted leave by Parliament in September,
2019 to secure a certificate of financial implication from the ministry of
Finance to enable him to table the draft, as a private member bill. But the
timeframe within which he was supposed to secure the certificate elapsed
without a nod from Finance.
Ugandan law restricts private members from tabling bills
that could have a charge on the consolidated fund, a provision which frustrates
efforts by the opposition groups in parliament to have the suggested amendments
Today, Bahati told the legal and
parliamentary affairs committee of parliament that the government would be
required to facilitate the proposed panel of speakers, and finance the election
of a deputy president, a move which he says is costly for a country like
Uganda. He added that
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Bahati further explained that when
the Ministry of Finance received the bill, guidance was sought from the Attorney
General on whose response came long after the 60-day period of issuing the certificate
had elapsed. He asked the committee to consider the fact that the bill has
clauses that affect the constitution in totality which government needs time to
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Bahati also objected the proposal
to scrape off the office of the Prime Minister and the proposed reduction in the
number of Ministers saying that this would greatly affect the economy and the running
of the government.
Mitooma Woman MP Jovah Kamateeka questioned if Ministers who
are also MPs are not overburdened with constituency work while at the same
time, serving the country.
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Bahati says that the proposal to appoint ministers from
outside parliament is equally costly as currently Ministers are paid allowances
only in addition to their Parliamentary service salary, yet ex-officials have
to earn a complete package.
The other proposed reforms include provisions to involve the
Judicial Service Commission in the appointment of the Electoral Commission
chairperson, allowing any voter to challenge the outcome of presidential
elections, reinstating Presidential term limits and changing the name of the
Uganda Police Force to Uganda Police Service. The draft equally provided for
the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General as ex-officio's in Parliament,
serving a five-year renewable term.