The government on Thursday 25 of July 2019, tabled the long-awaited 2018 Electoral Reforms on the floor of Parliament meeting the Supreme Court deadline of the 25th of July 2019.
The five Bills were tabled by the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga which includes the Presidential Elections Amendment Bill No 17, 2019, the Parliamentary Elections Amendment Bill No. 18, 2019, Electoral Commission Amendment Bill No. 19, 2019, Political Parties and Organisations Amendment Bill No. 20, 2019 and the Local Government Electoral Commission Amendment Bill No. 21, 2019.
Byaruhanga in his presentation assured parliament that the government will cooperate with all stakeholders, to produce a favourable bill to be discussed at Parliament after consultations are done.
“I beg to move that the bills, starting with the first one the Presidential Elections Amendment Bill 2019 Bill no. 17 of 2019 is accompanied by the certificate of financial implications and I beg to move the Bill for the first time,” Byaruhanga stated.
After Byaruhanga’s presentation, Speaker Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga forwarded the five bills to the legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for inspection and then be returned to Parliament for discussions.
Parliamentary Rules of Procedures require the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to inspect a bill within 45 days and thereafter report to parliament for debate.
Shadow Attorney General, Wilfred Nuwagaba informed parliament that the opposite side has several amendments to electoral laws and the Constitution of Uganda.
He, therefore, asked parliament to include opposition on the order paper to allow them to present opposition proposals so that they are tabled together with those of government.
After his submission, Speaker Kadaga instructed the Clerk to Parliament, Jane Kibirige to include Nwuagaba’s request on the order paper for Tuesday next week parliamentary sitting, to allow them to present their proposed electoral reforms.
However, a section of independent legislators said the government is laying down plans to eliminate them from their parties.
According to them if they are to attack independent MPs or rather independent positions, they have to first Amend the Constitution and without that their plans cannot succeed.
“It’s for formality and it could be targeting sections of our leadership including independents, including active opposition, John Baptist Nambeshe said.
On 25th June 2019, Supreme Court ruling instructed the government to table its Electoral Reforms before parliament within one month period.
The ruling was made by a panel of seven (7) Judges these include; Stella Amoko, Eldad Mwangusya, Rubby Opio Aweri, Faith Mwondha, Paul Mugamba, Richard Butera and Augustine Nshimye.
“The proposed legislation for the implementation of the court’s recommendation should be laid before parliament within one month from the date of this ruling. We find that the Attorney General has made efforts to follow up the recommendations but it’s yet to achieve the desired objective of the court,” the Judge’s ruling stated.
“He was not expected to be the sole participant. As an institution of government in getting the laws enacted, the court recommendations could only be implemented in time if and when all organs of the state played their roles in the process of enacting the recommended laws,” the Judges added.
Court also said that AG should make sure that consultations with other government bodies are made to ensure that the implementation of earlier electoral reforms recommendations are given priority.
Also, the court asked the government to pass the laws with the immediate effect such that other stakeholders get enough time to implement and observe the laws in the upcoming general elections.