Government has today tabled the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2015 providing a series of amendments to the Constitution ahead of next year’s general elections.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, appealed to legislators to “remain calm, reasonable and listen to each other’s views” as they consider the Bill.
The Bill, laid by Justice Minister Hon. Kahinda Otafiire, seeks to change the name of the Electoral Commission to Independent Electoral Commission and prescribes the procedure for removal of Commissioners of the Commission.
It also provides that persons wishing to stand as Independent candidates in an election will require signatures of at least one thousand registered voters in a constituency, for direct and district women parliamentary seats.
In addition, the Bill also provides that an MP will lose his or her seat if he or she “ceases” to be a member of the political party under which they were elected to Parliament.
Members will however be permitted to switch parties twelve months ahead of a general election.
Referring the Bill to the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for consideration, the Deputy Speaker asked the Committee to adjust their schedules and increase sitting hours to expeditiously consider the proposed law.
He imposed an embargo on both local and international travels for committee members until consideration of the Bill is concluded.
“Members of the Executive should be readily available to meet the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs when called upon. The Prime Minister should ensure maximum cooperation by the Executive,” Rt. Hon. Oulanyah said.
The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2015 also seeks to create a Salaries and Remunerations Board, a central independent body responsible for determining all salaries, allowances and benefits issued out of the Consolidated Fund.
The Deputy Speaker said that other electoral amendment bills would only come after the passing of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2015.