PARLIAMENT: The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has criticised government for not fulfilling its promises on appointing the Constitutional Review Commission.
Kadaga made the remarks on Tuesday while meeting a delegation from the Inter-religious Council of Uganda chaired by Uganda Supreme Council Mufti, Sheik Shaban Ramathan Mubajje.
The delegation also comprised of the Elders’ Forum headed by retired High Court judge James Ogoola.
The Speaker said she was disappointed by the unexplained delay by government to operationalise the Constitutional Review Commission.
“I must express my disappointment about the Constitutional Review Commission. We have been told that it is coming; names have been submitted but I don’t think there is any review coming,” she said.
The Speaker said in his recent reminder to the Attorney General, President Museveni ignored major concerns limiting the constitutional review to address issues raised by the Supreme Court.
During the presidential election petition by former prime minister and presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi in 2016, the Supreme Court pointed out constitutional issues that must be addressed by government. The government subsequently said there would be a Constitutional Review Commission to look into the concerns.
“That is why I am saying that I am really frustrated because I don’t see the opening,” said Kadaga.
The proponents of a National Dialogue presented to the Speaker a second draft framework for the dialogue. They highlighted the need for a Constitutional Review Commission as key among the solutions required “to heal the evidently open wounds suffered by nationals in the country.”
The First Dialogue Plenary is expected to be launched on September 26-28, 2018.
“The proposed agenda of the National Dialogue Process [is geared] towards a new national consensus to consolidate peace, democracy and inclusive development to achieve equal opportunities for all,” Sheik Mubajje said.
Among key thematic areas for the consensus is; national values, political consensus, minimum standards for quality services, an economy that works for all and constitutionalism and the rule of law among others.
Mr Mubajje said the organisers are in a dilemma over funding for the dialogue.
“We want to have special funding locally but we fear to be accused of bias yet if we secure funding from foreign players, we shall be perceived as surrendering to neo-colonialism,” said Mr Mubajje.
Although they said the actual amount required is yet to be ascertained, the group appealed to Parliament to avail the money at least through a supplementary budget.
Ms Kadaga however said their request came late since the budget is already under implementation.
She advised them to engage the Prime Minister and the President such that funds can be provided in the next financial year’s budget.
“As we leave to our permanent home (grave) we need to leave behind us a legacy,” said Justice Ogoola.
He said there are many wounds that have been created since the first overthrow of the Constitution, highlighting the Buganda Question, which he said has remained unresolved unless there is reconciliation.