The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga has defended the recent decision by parliament to extend tenure of office of Members of Parliament and elected local council leaders from five to seven years. Hon. Kadaga who at one time opposed the move says, the term extension will enable political leaders fulfil their pledge.
Early this week Kadaga told MPs that the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, which she tasked with scrutinising a report on the age limit Bill’ [ passed into Law] overstepped its mandate and smuggled in a provision for extension of the term of the president and Parliament from five to seven years.
However, while officiating the end of year party for Members of Parliament, the speaker who chaired House during the passing of the controversial age limit bill, says the two-year extension is to enable the legislators do their mandatory role of fulfilling their pledges to their electorates.
Meanwhile, Lawyer Male Mabirizi Kiwanuka, has petitioned the Constitutional court challenging everything controversial age limit law that was passed by parliament. The attorney general is the respondent.
Mabirizi Kiwanuka challenges the actions of parliament’s Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee which smuggled into the Constitution Amendment (No2) Bill 2017 items concerning the extension of the term of parliament from five to seven years and restoration of presidential term limits.
He contends that none of these items were in the original bill as presented and sent to the committee, neither were they presented before it in form of any memoranda by the people interviewed. Mabirizi says the committee’s actions were inconsistent with and in contravention of Articles 1, 8A, 44(c), 79, 90 and 94 of the constitution which require parliament to only act in the name of the people, in conformity with the constitution, laws and the rules of parliament before enacting any law.
Mabirizi also challenges parliament’s decision to extend its own term for two more years, arguing that it is inconsistent with and in contravention of articles 1, 2, 77(3) and 77 (4) of the constitution which provide that the current parliament was elected for five years and its term can only be extended by only six months at a time and only when there is a state of war or any emergency.
Also in challenge is the decision by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to waive the rule requiring a minimum of three days from the tabling of a committee report on a bill before the report could be debated by parliament. He also says the speaker should have given every MP a chance to debate the bill. Only 124 of the 451 legislators debated the bill.
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