bill to have Parliamentary and Presidential seats held by degree holders (1)
Tororo District MP, Sarah Opendi

Norbert Mao, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, has been asked to review a motion requiring candidates for parliamentary and presidential positions to hold at least a bachelor’s degree.

Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among has asked the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Norbert Mao, to look into a motion seeking members vying for Parliamentary and Presidential positions to first be in possession of at least a bachelor’s degree before they can be allowed to stand. 

The request came after a proposal from Tororo District MP, Sarah Opendi to have the qualifications of the president and legislators raised from the current Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) to a bachelor’s degree.

In her proposal, Opendi also wants 40 per cent of elective parliamentary seats reserved for women, a move she said would address gender inequality in leadership.

“…despite the interventions made in elevating the participation of women in leadership and decision-making and the gains so far achieved, Uganda has not yet achieved gender balance in political decision-making in line with her commitment under the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action,” Opendi’s motion reads in part.

With this, she proposes an amendment to article 78 of the Constitution to ensure 40 per cent of parliamentary seats are ring-fenced for women.

The proposed amendment also seeks a revision to article 102 of the constitution such that an individual must at least first acquire a bachelor’s degree before they can run for either of the two positions.

Responding to this however, Speaker Anita Among asked the proposal to be submitted to the office of the Minister for Justice for a clear review and provide a response to Opendi’s submission.

“There is need for a comprehensive review of the constitution by the Constitution Review Commission so that the amendment of the constitution is consolidated as opposed to piecemeal amendments by private members,” Among said.

Chapter 142 of the Presidential Elections Act of 2000 stipulates that for one to become a presidential candidate, they must be a citizen of Uganda by birth and be qualified to be an MP. 

Candidates are also required to be of sound mind and have no formal connection with the Electoral Commission of Uganda.

Similarly, for one to become a MP according to the Electoral Commission, they must have attained up to at least an Advanced Certificate or completed their secondary education.