17 January 2013

Uganda: Parliament Recall Collapses

Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga will not recall Parliament on grounds that the number of signatures submitted to her office insufficient as required by law.

"It's in my view that if the withdrawal of the signatures leaves the remaining signatures fall below those set by the constitution for such a petition, then it becomes ineligible for further processing. In view of the above, I find it that the petition does not meet the requirement as set out in article 95 clause 5 of the constitution and rule 20 of the rules of procedure of parliament and therefore unable to act on the petition submitted to my office," Kadaga said a in letter to the petitioners.

Over 100 MPs signed a petition for the Speaker to recall the House from recess for a special sitting.

The petition, however, suffered setback after some MPs who had appended their signatures wrote to the Speaker withdrawing their signatures, citing various reasons. Other MPs purported to have appended their signatures said their signatures had been forged.

The chief petitioner Denis Hamson Obua recently handed over their petition for the recall of Parliament, to a Parliament official, Patrick Ngolobe.

The gist of the petition, Obua said, was to urge the Executive arm of Government to respect constitutionalism and the rule of law. The MPs also want Parliament to urge the Executive Arm to respect the independence of Parliament and the Judiciary, which are the other two arms of Government.

Article 95(5) of the constitution, which provides that at least one third of all MPs may in writing, with their signatures attached, request a meeting of Parliament. The Speaker then is required to summon parliament to meet within 21 days of the receipt of the petition.

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