Constitution gives parliament too much power – Museveni

Constitution gives parliament too much power - Museveni
President Museveni (R) at the opening of the Judges Conference today

President Museveni has noted that the 1995 Constitution gives parliament too much powers, that among other things has led to wastage of resources and lack of coordination.

Museveni was today speaking at the official opening of the 20th Judges Conference at Speke Resort Munyonyo under the theme: “An inclusive judiciary for sustainable development.”

The president said, parliament has the powers to fix their own budget, but also on what becomes law even if the president declines. He cited what he called wastage in the Constitution created by members of the Constituent Assembly (CA).

Museveni was responding to pleas by judiciary to have more funding to ensure justice. He said there is quite a bit of wastage in the system as it stands, and yet all of this wastage can be avoided.

“Because in the CA, they said parliament should fix their own money and their own budget, the president has no authority over that, unless I create a crisis. Of course I can create a crisis, and you know I can manage a crisis, but I preferred not to create a crisis,” Museveni said.

He said there was a lack of coordination in the Constitution, something that people claim is democratic. He cited Article 91 of the Constitution which provides for a bill to be passed into law by parliament if the president rejects it for the second time.

He says there is also lack of coordination on land issues which many perceive to be democratic. He says recently the government has been having a problem of accessing land even for development of projects just because the people who made the Constitution did not coordinate it.

This is in reference to a bill currently in parliament seeking to provide for compulsory acquisition of land for government projects. Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Sseggona says the president is trying to institutionalise himself as Museveni, noting that his statements are not in good faith, and not meant to further democracy but to make him appear as the whole.

“He is engraving himself into Constitution, parliament is a body and institution that is able and made up of all these legislators, but the president as person may not want his powers checked. Making laws is the role of parliament, not the job of the president,” he said.

On parliament allocating its own resources, Sseggona says Museveni has never raised concerns over this.

“Emoluments are proposed by ministries and departments. The budget for parliament is discussed like any other department and as far as I know he has never raised this concern,” Sseggona adds.

He says Museveni could be trying to find an opportunity to attack parliament.