21 January 2013

Uganda: Matembe, Kamya Clash Over Museveni

Former Constituent Assembly member and Ethics Minister Miria Matembe has dismissed as unfounded, claims by Uganda Federal Alliance President Beti Kamya that President Museveni was given too much power by the Constitution.

Instead, Matembe says that the president is only misusing the power given to him by the Constitution. Matembe was responding to reports that Kamya intends to call a referendum to trim the president's powers.

"[For] Kamya and whoever is condemning us [CA] that we did not do a good Constitution, they have not read it properly," Matembe said in an interview with The Observer. "We were very mindful of that fact and considered ... that the president would at no time act alone."

Matembe explained that the president exercises his powers in consultation with the legislature or the judiciary.

"When it comes to making appointments ... like ministers and the Judiciary, he appoints and Parliament approves or disapproves," Matembe explained.

However, Kamya maintains that the president directly controls 20% of Parliament and the Judiciary through appointment.

"No one [in these institutions] can stand in the way of the president because they owe their appointment directly to him," Kamya countered.

But Matembe puts the blame on MPs who allow the president to overstep his limits.

"Of the three organs of the government, Parliament is supreme. It has the powers to summon the president at any time and order him to address MPs on any issue ... instead they pass any request he makes... these MPs are simply looking for envelopes," Matembe said.

Kamya is the latest politician to complain about the president's hold on government, after MPs unsuccessfully tried to move a petition, calling for a return to presidential term limits.

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