Germany Announces to Make Available 70 Million Euros (approx. 78 Million USD) for Development Cooperation with the EACGermany Announces to Make Available 70 Million Euros (approx. 78 Million USD) for Development Cooperation with the EAC
Germany Announces to Make Available 70 Million Euros (approx. 78 Million USD) for Development Cooperation with the EAC
Youthful Kenyan MPs have threatened to stage demonstrations in Kampala if Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, is not released in one week.
Lawmakers Jared Okelo (Nyando), Babu Owino (Embakasi East) and Gideon Keter (nominated) of the Kenya Young Parliamentarians Association said they will first stage a protest against the arrest and torture of Mr Wine at the Ugandan Embassy in Kenya before escalating it to the neighbouring country.
While addressing the press on Wednesday at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi, the lawmakers said they will speak out against abuse of human rights being meted out on the youthful Ugandan legislator following his arbitrary arrest.
“An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere, we will not keep quiet while one of us is being subjected to inhuman treatment just across the border,” Mr Okelo said.
“Our number one mandate as young MPs is to is to protect human rights. We are giving the Ugandan authority one week to unconditionally release Bobi Wine or else we will lead a delegation to Uganda and hold a mother of all protests on the streets of Kampala,” he added.
Mr Owino, who is also the secretary-general of the association, said the continual detention of the young MP is an infringement on freedom of expression and association.
Kampala. The visa application process granting entry into Uganda must not take more than a week, Gen JJ Odong, the Internal Affairs minister, has said. Speaking at celebrations to mark the Pakistani Day in Kampala, Gen Odong said foreigners must not be subjected to weeks of waiting before they are issued visas stipulating their stay in Uganda. “Why should a visa application take two weeks? This process is done online and you [applicant] should get a response within a week. If this is not done walk into Immigration and ask what is happening,” he said. Gen Odong was responding to concerns from Mr Al-Malik Azhar, the Pakistan Society Uganda chairman, who indicated that a number of members have to wait for weeks before they are issued with a visa. Mr Malik also complained of the high work permit fees, which he described as a deterrent to investors. The $2,500 (about Shs8.75m) fee charged for work permits, he said, is too unfair on the part of investors, who wish to hire expertise outside Uganda. “At least it should be about $1,000 (Shs3.5m). Some people apply for three-year work permits but only get one. To make matters worse, you have to pay for other visas such as student’s [$100] that are not covered in the main one,” he said. However, Gen Odong said the work permit issue was a government policy and he would forward the complaint to relevant institutions. Mr Malik also noted that the absence of an embassy in Kampala has seen members pay highly as they have to travel to Nairobi, Kenya to do simple things such as renewing a passport. Pakistan only has a Consulate that is headed by Ms Rukia Nakadama, the former state minister for Gender, who replaced Bonney Katatumba. Katatumba died in February last year. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Okello Oryem, who also attended the celebrations, said he had invited Pakistan Prime Minister to open an embassy in Uganda but government was yet to get an update on the invitation. The Pakistan Consulate that had at some point been housed in Muyenga and Blacklines House has since been shifted to Ntinda. Ms Nakadama called upon the Pakistan community in Uganda to harness their potential to develop Uganda. “I am here to facilitate the Pakistani nationals get good environment for businesses and develop our country,” she said.
The political mayhem surrounding the presidential age-limit debate forced many people to opt out of the debate and leave the fate of the country in the hands of Members of Parliament.
However, after listening to the wisdom of some senior citizens who spoke at a workshop organised by the Elders Forum last Friday, one was forced to reflect on the current political situation in the country in which constitutional matters are being confused with political issues. A national constitution should be above politics and that is why the Constitution itself makes a distinction between the political work of Parliament and its special powers to amend the Constitution. Article 79 of the Constitution sets out the political functions of Parliament to include: • The power to make laws on any matter for the peace, order, development and good governance of Uganda. • The power to confer authority on any person or body to make provisions having the force of law. • The duty to protect the constitution and promote the democratic governance of Uganda. In furtherance of these functions, Parliament is given power under Article 94 to make rules to regulate its procedure and Article 94(4)(b) specifically gives a Member of Parliament the right to move a private member’s Bill subject to the following limitations • The member moving the private member’s Bill must seek assistance of the department of government whose area of operation is affected by the Bill. • The Attorney General’s office must be involved in drafting of the Bill. Article 259 of Chapter Eighteen of the Constitution gives special powers to Parliament to amend the Constitution. These powers are separate from the political powers, which are bestowed on Parliament. Accordingly, the rules governing the procedure to enact laws cannot be used for purposes of amending the Constitution. Indeed Article 259 provides that ‘Parliament may amend any provision of the Constitution according to procedure laid down in this chapter’, meaning Chapter Eighteen and not Chapter Five.
The only way the Constitution can be amended is by first and foremost enacting a law implementing the provision of Chapter Eighteen and making rules under that law providing for procedure for such amendment. The Bill before Parliament was introduced by a private member according to rules, which govern the political work of Parliament, which makes it unconstitutional. Secondly, even if the current rules of parliamentary procedure were considered to be applicable, the preparation of the Bill would still render it unconstitutional because it was not done according to the requirements of the Constitution.
Article 94(c) and (d) require that the member moving the Bill should have sought the assistance of the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs as the department of government most affected by the Bill as well as the professional assistance of the office of the Attorney General should have been sought in its drafting.
These provisions are important and are in line with the idea that the Constitution should not be capriciously and indiscriminately tampered with by politicians. Lastly a bill to amend the constitution can only be assented to by the President if it is accompanied by a certificate of the Speaker that the provisions of chapter eighteen have been complied with in relation to it.
This chapter does not confer on a private member the right to move a bill to amend the constitution. As such Hon.Raphel Magyezi’s bill is irregularly and unconstitutionally before august house. The political and constitutional confusion caused by Hon. Magyezi’s bill can only be sorted out through sober dialogue and the willingness to accept wise counsel.