Parliament under fire over Age Limit Consultations

Posted: 2017-11-15T07:57:23Z
Parliament under fire over Age Limit Consultations

Members of Parliament have been criticized for the manner in which conducted their consultations on the proposed presidential age limit removal. 

Two constitutional lawyers, Prof. Frederick Ssempebwa and Peter Mulira while appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee rubbished the manner in which the consultations have been carried out.

Chaired by West Budama South MP Jacob Oboth-Oboth the Committee is currently considering the Constitutional (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2017. Tabled last month by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi, the Bill seeks to among others repeal Article 102(b) of the Constitution which puts 35 and 75 as lower and upper caps respectively on the presidential age.

MPs were last month given 29 million Shillings each by the Parliamentary Commission to carry out consultations on the Bill in their respective constituencies. With a total of 13 billion Shillings spent on 436 MPs, they were required to consult Ugandans from 25th October to 8th November 2017.

Prof. Frederick Ssempebwa condemned the manner in which the process was conducted. He told the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee that the consultation targeted the knowledgeable people and was restrictive as MPs already had their positions on the Bill.

"The consultations should be free and include sensitization of the population about the reasons for the amendments; and the positive and negative possible effects of the amendments. It achieves little if it is handled from the view point of hardened positions that are presented to the people as the correct line," he said.

Lawyer Peter Mulira also rubbished the manner in which consultations were carried out. He pointed out that a Constitution is a complicated matter which one does not address at a rally like he has seen several MPs doing. Mulira said that the relevant citizens have not been consulted.

The Members of Parliament are scheduled to make their submissions in writing to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on Tuesday next week.