State to legalise army stay in parliament


Government has introduced a proposed legislation intended to regularize the procedure for the election of special interest groups in Parliament.

The Attorney General, Hon. Fred Ruhindi said that the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2015 seeks to prescribe the procedure for elections of representatives of the army, youth, workers and persons with disabilities.

Government moved the Bill in response to a September 2015 Constitutional Court ruling declaring regulations made by the Minister on the elections of youth, army and workers MP void since they were not made by Parliament as required by the Constitution.

The Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2015 provides the procedures to be followed by youth councils to elect youth MPs; the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces Council to elect army representatives; the National Organization of Trade Unions and Confederation of Free Trade Unions for workers MPs.

Members were however against the introduction of the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2015 saying there was need to respect separation of powers between Parliament and the Judiciary considering that the Attorney General had filed a Notice of Appeal to the Constitutional Court.

Hon. Sam Otada (Ind., Kibanda) said since the Minister has not withdrawn the Notice of Appeal, it means the ruling by the Constitutional Court stands.

Hon. Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East) said it would be an abuse of the judicial arm of government for Parliament to consider the Bill since the issue is still before court.

He recommended that Parliament stays consideration of the Bill until the issue is finalized by the courts.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, advised legislators to raise their objections to the Bill with the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, to which it was committed for consideration.

Meanwhile Parliament on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015 passed a motion to retain special interest groups in the House, as required by the Constitution.

The Constitution provides that representation of district women, youth, army, workers and Persons with Disabilities shall be reviewed ten years after the commencement of the 1995 Constitution and every five years thereafter, with a view of retaining, increasing or abolishing them.



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