Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee has started drafting a report on the Constitutional (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2017 after meeting President Yoweri Museveni.
The Bill tabled by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi seeks to among others repeal Article 102(b) which restricts the presidential age to between 35 and 75 years. According to those opposed to the amendment, the move would eliminate the last legal hurdle for President Yoweri Museveni to seek re-election when his term of office ends in 2021 when he will be above 75 years.
Now after their meeting with President Museveni on Tuesday night at State House Entebbe, the committee chaired by West Budama South MP Jacob Oboth-Oboth retreated to a hotel to start drafting the report that will inform debate on the floor of the House.
The MPs are currently locked up at Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort- Kigo in Wakiso district to draft the report on the now controversial Bill. At least Shs 83 million had been budgeted to cover the cost of the retreat by the committee.
Out of the 29 MPs that constitute the committee, about 13 attended the Entebbe meeting. Seven members are out of the country, three openly boycotted the meeting while six were designated to the committee less than a fortnight ago.
The committee’s decision to immediately embark on drafting the report came after plans to hold countrywide consultations on the proposal hit a snag.
This was after the Clerk to Parliament Jane Kibirige told the committee that the Parliamentary Commission did not have money to facilitate travel, accommodation and related arrangements by the committee during the planned consultative meetings.
“We said instead of us losing out on that, lets now do what is practical. And what is practical is to write a report and this will also be part of the report that we didn’t have money to go for consultative meetings,” Oboth-Oboth told this publication.
Two opposition legislators on Tuesday disagreed with the move to write a report without consulting Ugandans.
Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Sseggona and his Masaka municipality counterpart Mathias Mpuuga insisted that they needed to first consult the people before writing the report.
They noted that without consulting the people, they are to come up with an alternative report on the Bill.