This is the time for Ugandans to change the current Constitution and have an amended one just in time for the 2016 general election.
Ugandans are giving their views and petitions to the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs which is headed by Gen Kahinda Otafiire. But government has yet to tell Ugandans how the reforms will be approved. Will they be approved through a referendum or by the Parliament?
I think it should be by referendum by all citizens but not just the 375 Members of Parliament. I hope the government will not use the usual excuse lack of funds not to hold a referendum.
There is one important factor in the political system of our country which has been completely ignored right from 1995, and that is every presidential candidate should be an MP so that he she can speak for his party in the Parliament even when they are not elected president. This is very important and it should be entrenched in the Constitution. Any Ugandan citizen seeking to be elected President should also have a Parliamentary Constituency to represent his people.
The aantage of this is that the flag bearer, who is normally the party leader, will have an opportunity to speak in Parliament instead of asking for permission from the police to hold public political rallies which usually turn out to be chaotic. He will be able to aocate for the policies of his party in Parliament, and if his party comes second in the elections then he she automatically becomes the Leader of Opposition in Parliament.
It is important that we review the Constitution because so many important issues were left out in 1995 when it was being approved.
I remember in the last general election, we had seven people who competed against President Museveni of NRM. They were Dr Kiiza Besigye (FDC), Ms Beti Kamya (UFA), Sam Lubega Mukaaku (Independent), Dr Abed Bwanika (PDP), Norbert Mao (DP), Dr Olara Otunu (UPC) and Bidandi Ssali PPP.
All these party leaders had excellent manifestos outlining their plans for the economic, social and educational development of this country. If our Constitution had that provision, all the seven would now be Members of Parliament speaking and moving motions on behalf of their parties.
There is another thorny issue now, of Ugandans becoming Members of Parliament as “independents”. This provision which allows a Ugandan to contest for Parliament as an ‘independent’ must be left in our Constitution. I am one of the people who aocated very strongly in 2003 for this provision to be in our Constitution. I gave my petition on this issue to the Constitutional Review Commission which was chaired by Prof Fredrick Ssempeebwa in 2003 at Mukono District Headquarters and the Commission accepted my views.
A citizen decides to stand as an independent candidate after citing injustice, corruption, nepotism, hatred and tribal favouritism in the Constituency Selection Committee now popularly known as “Kamyufu” by the political parties, except the Democratic Party which calls it “green”. Also one decides to stand as an independent candidate after failing in the selection committee especially when he knows that he is popular and very much liked by the electorate in the constituency. When polling takes place, he wins and becomes a Member of Parliament.
The only solution to end this problem would be to introduce real democracy in the initial selection of a Candidate.
Kavuma Kaggwa, Elder from Kyaggwe Mukono District
SOURCE: Daily Monitor