Reduce President’s powers – varsity students

MBARARA- University students from western Uganda want powers of the President trimmed to allow democracy thrive in the country.

The students drawn from six universities in the region were last Friday debating governance under the theme, “The Democratisation process in Uganda: Underscoring the challenges ahead.”

Participants were drawn from Mountains of the Moon University, Kabale University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), Uganda Pentecostal University, Bishop Stuart University and Uganda Technical College Bushenyi.

The students observed that the power of appointing heads of statutory organs lies with the President, which leaves appointees susceptible to his whims.

They listed some of the statutory organs whose heads are appointed by the President as the Inspector General of Police, Governor Bank of Uganda, Chief Justice and chairpersons of the Electoral Commission (EC), among others.

“Look at the EC, some of the members are political failures but the President knows they can play his cards well. How can police work against the wishes of the person who appoints their leader,” Mr Robert Mugisha, a student of Bishop Stuart University, wondered.

The students also noted that “a rubber stamp Parliament” which passes unpopular bills, curtails media and abets corruption, which is an impediment to democracy.
However, Ms Helen Kawesa, the Parliamentary spokesperson refuted the claims of the, saying: “There is evidence that Parliament is doing its best. For instance we have had cases where some public servants and ministers have resigned on the recommendations of Parliament.”

Dr Livingstone Ssekweyama, director Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, said they are engaging students at university and other tertiary institutions in debates on human rights to arouse their civic awareness.
He said students need to be critical of what is not right and equipping themselves with knowledge.

Mbarara District Resident Commissioner Nickson Kabuye told the youth time was now to shape their destiny and become a force that can move the country forward.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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