Opposition Members of Parliament consulting on
the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2019 had tough time in Soroti to convince
residents on legislator’s remuneration.
The legislators led by the Busiro East County
MP, Medard Sseggona were consulting on 17 proposed areas for amendment at
Paxland Hotel in Soroti. The bill, containing among other provisions for
comprehensive electoral reforms was introduced by the shadow Attorney General,
Wilson Nuwagaba after the government proposed reforms that were consulted on by
the Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in August.
Among the key areas for consultation include the
proposal to have the Public Service Commission determine salaries and
allowances of public officers under chapter 10 of the Constitution, abolition
of office of RDCs and removal of UPDF representatives from parliament.
The others are the proposed restriction of
numbers of cabinet ministers and state ministers to 21 respectively, change the
name of Uganda Police Force to Uganda Police Service, Prohibition of the
appointment of ministers from among MPs, involvement of Judicial Commission
Service Commission in the appointment of the members of the Electoral
Commission, Attorney General and deputy to be ex- officio MPs among others.
However, Soroti residents concentrated on
emolument of MPs, presence of army and other special interest group
representatives in parliament and RDCs that they observed were weighing on
other Ugandan workers and tax payers.
George William Okoit, the Soroti Municipality
Youth councilor questioned why MPs from the opposition are silent on issues of
their emolument but very vocal on others affecting Ugandans. He observed that
unlike other political leaders whose emolument is dictated by law, MPs are
privileged to decide their pay.
// cue in “You guys have…
Cue out…the money”//
Peter Lochom, one of the participants tasked the
MPs to accommodate a provision for recalling MPs from Parliament when they fail
to perform. Lochom observed that several MPs have failed to deliver on their
mandate and the voters are helpless leaving legislators to mess up parliament.
// cue in “Our members of parliament…
Cue out…to be recalled”//
Joseph Okello, an elder in Soroti and residents who
participated in the consultation supported the MP’s proposal to remove
representatives of the army from Parliament. They argued that there is no
justification for ten representatives of the army in Parliament.
// cue in “We have a minister…
Cue out…are they impartial?”//
In his response to the issue of MPs emolument,
Ssegona noted that Ugandans are feeling the pinch on the remuneration of MPs
due to bigger numbers. He indicated that the salary paid to Ugandan legislators
is far much less compared to their counterparts in the region.
Sseggona also noted that MPs have the liberty to
decide their pay to enable them exercise independence from the executive arm of
// cue in “It is not worth…
Cue out…that little work”//
The opposition consultations on electoral
reforms that commenced on Monday also wants provision for the qualification of
the chairperson Electoral Commission, clear grounds for the disqualification of
members of the Electoral Commission, introduction of the speaker’s panel,
reinstating Presidential term limits, replacement of the office of Vice
President with the office of the deputy president and repeal the office of the