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Granted! Parliament okays opposition to table Electoral Reforms

Hon Wilfred Niwagaba, the Shadow Attorney-General wants financial support to prepare the constitutional amendments bill that caters for proposed electoral reforms from the opposition (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – Legislators of the 10th Parliament have overwhelmingly supported the motion by the Shadow Attorney General, Wilfred Niwagaba to table the constitutional amendments bill that caters for proposed electoral reforms from the opposition.

During the debate on the motion to grant Niwagaba leave, Legislators from both fronts; the ruling party and opposition seconded the motion with Hon Ssemujju Nganda, requesting the Minister of Finance, Matia  Kasaija to use the  same efficiency he used to prepare the certificate of financial implications for Hon Raphael Magyezi’s president age limit bill, saying the Finance Minister should grant Hon Niwagaba similar support.

Fort Portal Municipality’s Alex Ruhinda asked fellow NRM MPs to back Hon Niwagaba saying it will be critical to assure Ugandans that nothing done by opposition or NRM is wrong for the nation saying,

“We have the abilities to have an input in this bill that is why I have no worry and instil confidence that everything from opposition is bad,”said Hon Ruhinda.

Hon Oulanyah asked if there was anyone opposed to the motion, but none of the legislators stood up, which prompted him to announce Hon Niwagaba’s win.

He likened MPs to sculptures whose job is to perfect bills that come for scrutiny.

“Bills are brought in all shapes but Parliament gives the final shape, that’s why we do never worry what shape the bill comes it, we will give it the shape it is in for the best interest of this country. Leave is granted, I direct department to render the help needed and would like to thank you for your perseverance,” said Hon Oulanyah.

The Opposition is seeking to amend articles 259 and 262 of the Constitution and the united politicians have listed a number of reforms like increasing the number of members of the Electoral Commission from seven to nine.

Another proposal by the opposition suggests that the Judicial Service Commission should appoint of members of the Electoral Commission instead of having the team named by the President.

The Opposition is also seeking to end the army presence in Parliament, as well as provide for the Leader of Opposition, Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General as ex-official members of Parliament.

They also want to replace the requirement for resignation of public officers who wish to stand in general elections with leave of absence without pay as well as to prohibit the appointment of Ministers from being selected among Members of Parliament as well as to provide for the office of the Speaker’s Panel.

The Opposition is also plotting to reinstate presidential term limits, scrap the Office of the Vice President and replace it with the Office of Deputy President.

The Opposition also wants voters to challenge presidential elections instead of only presidential candidates, to restrict the number of Cabinet Ministers and State Ministers to twenty-one.

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