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MP Niwagaba Granted Leave to Introduce Constitutional Amendment Bill

Parliament has this afternoon approved a motion by Shadow Attorney General Wilfred Niwagaba consequently granting him leave to introduce a Private Members Bill entitled ‘The Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2019’.
Shadow Attorney General Wilfred Niwagaba moved a motion seeking leave to present a Bill to amend the Constitution.

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Parliament has granted leave to Shadow Attorney-General Wilfred Niwagaba to introduce a Private Members Bill, the Constitutional Amendment Bill.

The approval in a plenary session chaired by Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah followed overwhelming support across the political divide for the MP to be given chance and introduce his Bill for the first reading.

Speaking about his motion earlier, Niwagaba recounted that the Supreme Court recommended the overhaul of the electoral law to align it with the dictates of free and fair elections noting that the need for free and fair elections remains an outcry of many Ugandans.

He notes that the Supreme Court has in the previous years directed government to have several electoral reforms before two years to the general elections and that the Government has failed to introduce the necessary laws to effect the electoral reforms envisaged in time. 

Some of the key reforms proposed by the Ndorwa East MP include reinstating presidential term limits, removal of the representation of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) representatives from parliament, and restrict the number of Cabinet Ministers and other Ministers to 21 respectively, increasing the number of members of the Electoral Commission (EC) from 7 to 9 and others.

Niwagaba appealed to MPs to look at his motion in the interest of Uganda since they are meant to benefit the country's democracy.

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Ngora Woman MP Jacquiline Amongin supported the motion saying that it’s overdue. Amongin said that as Uganda heads towards the 2021 elections, the country is looking at parliament's guidance in regard to the electoral amendments meant to guide the electoral democracy.

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Rwampara County MP Charles Ngabirano also supported Niwagaba's motion saying that there is need for parliament to consider all the electoral reforms at once way ahead of the 2021 elections.

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Kiira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda appealed to the Finance Minister to use the same efficiency used to avail a Certificate of Financial implication to Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi's controversial 'Age Limit' Bill and grant the same to Niwagaba.

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Fort Portal Municipality MP Alex Ruhunda emphasized democratization saying that following the Supreme Court ruling, there is need for parliament to support MP Niwagaba to introduce the Bill and enable them consider or re-work his proposals.

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Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah granted leave to Niwagaba after receiving overwhelming support from MPs.  He also appealed to government departments to grant him assistance to facilitate the Bill.

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Meanwhile, before MPs could debate the motion, there were attempts by Finance Minister Matia Kasaija to block it requesting for more time for the Attorney General William Byaruhanga whom he said was in London to be available.

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However, following decline by a section of MPs to grant the request, Deputy Speaker equally declined the request saying that the motion had dragged on since January 2019 and that the Attorney General had ample time to make a decision on the matter.

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