11 October 2017

Uganda: Age Limit - MP Magyezi Wants Legal Committee Disbanded

Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi wants the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee of parliament reconstituted, to get rid of MPs opposed to the Constitution Amendment Bill (No 2) 2017.

Magyezi says several members of this committee, mostly from the opposition, have openly expressed bias towards his bill that seeks to amend Article 102 (b) of the Constitution to remove the age cap for presidential candidates.

The bill, tabled before parliament last week, has attracted controversy, with the opposition accusing the NRM of hatching a life presidency for their party chairman, Gen Yoweri Museveni.

Museveni will be 76 years old in 2021 and ineligible to stand for the country's top job.

Addressing the media at parliament today, Magyezi said opposition and some NRM MPs are biased and should be replaced with neutral ones.

He also accused the committee leadership, led by Jacob Oboth Oboth (West Budama South), of curtailing one of his members, Jackson Kafuuzi (Kyaka South), from contributing during committee sittings.

"If you say Hon Kafuuzi cannot be an active participant of the committee, then I have a right to express my reservation of those members who have come out in the public to oppose the bill. If these members continue to express their reservations on my bill openly, then they should withdraw from the committee or let the committee be reconstituted for the objectivity of the process," Magyezi said.

He added: "Fair hearing demands that the committee to which I am going to appear must portray its independence, neutrality and objectivity without bias".

Last week, Oboth announced that Kafuuzi will not be allowed to discuss and vote on the bill, on grounds that he was one of its seconders when Magyezi tabled it in parliament.

He further asked the 23 legislators on the committee to put aside their personal opinions of the bill and deliberate and hear views from different stakeholders wholesomely.

However, legislators such as Medard Lubega Ssegona (Busiro East), Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East), Monica Amoding (Kumi Woman) and Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda (Kira Municipality) have openly bashed the Magyezi bill, vowing to frustrate it during the committee meetings.

SHS 715m budget

The committee has drafted a Shs 715 million budget to conduct public hearings on this bill.

According to the proposed budget estimations, the MPs will spend Shs 227 million on internal field trip travels, Shs 400 million on international travels and Shs 88 million for a retreat to draft the committee report.

The committee has scheduled consultative meetings in seven districts in five sub-regions of North, East, West, Central and West Nile.

For each region, the committee will spend Shs 45.5 million in 10 days to cater for per diem for five MPs, three staff, three police officers, one driver, fuel and contingency.

The committee has earmarked three countries for benchmarking and will spend Shs 133.3 million to travel to each them.

Under the Shs 88 million budget for the retreat, the 23-man committee will meet for three days for full board accommodation. There will be transport refund of Shs 100,000 per day and contingency of Shs 2 million.


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