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Seven-year term for MPs illegal

I will start by quoting Article 1 (3) of Uganda’s constitution: “All power and authority of Government and its organs derive from this Constitution, which in turn derives its authority from the people who consent to be governed in accordance with this Constitution.”

Clause 4 of the same article provides:  “The people shall express their will and consent on who shall govern them and how they should be governed, through regular, free and fair elections of their representatives or through referenda.”

In the recent Constitution Amendment (No 2) Bill 2017 (awaiting presidential assent to become a constitutional amendment), members of parliament have, among others, extended their term of office from five to seven years.

This provision benefits the current parliament as well and, as such, elections for parliamentary representatives will not be held in 2021, but in 2023.

Such a move is not only immoral but also illegal and unconstitutional. First, pursuant to article 1 of the Constitution, people are to be governed by their consent and they express their will and consent on who shall govern them through regular, free and fair elections.

In 2016, the citizens of Uganda from each constituency voted their respective members of parliament and consented to be governed for only five years. Like a contract of employment, this five-year mandate can only be extended by voters who have the authority to do so.

Secondly, while parliament has the power to amend the Constitution and extend the term of office for which MPs serve, the purported extension of this mandate from five to seven years cannot and should not benefit the current parliament, but subsequent parliaments.

But what the MPs did implies that it is no longer the people who have power to consent, but that those in power can, as and when they deem fit, consent/choose themselves to be leaders without the need to seek the consent/votes of the governed.

This undermines the whole essence of the social contract theory upon which constitutional rule is premised. It goes against the whole essence of a democracy and it is a clear act of distortion of a constitutional order.

Third, the decision will open the floodgates. If this parliament can choose to extend their term in office for two more years, what will prevent the next parliament from extending it for five more years and avoid the expenses of campaigning or, put differently, “eat at once and go”?

It also undermines the essence of regular elections as a tool for citizens to hold their leaders accountable by either voting them out if they are not satisfied by their performance or by renewing their mandate if they have performed to their expectations.

If the impugned provision goes unchallenged, it means people have been disenfranchised. This is tantamount to an act of power grab by the rulers from the governed.

It means that for the extra two years, people will be ruled against their will and that the ruler, not the people or the constitution, is supreme.

To restore this distortion, Article 137 of the Constitution mandates every citizen to petition the Constitutional court whenever any act, law, custom or omission contravenes the provisions of the constitution.

I have no doubt that patriotic Ugandans will not wait to petition the Constitutional court and that our courts will not waver to declare this illegality unconstitutional.

Even where this finally succeeds by presidential assent as a constitutional amendment, it is still challengeable as one provision of the constitution being inconsistent with the other and the principle of harmonization will be invoked to correct this anomaly.

bdeniso4@gmail.com

The author is a lawyer and sociopolitical commentator.

Comments

0 #1 Akot 2018-01-01 18:37
Present constitution is not for Ugandans & we must stop using it to justify any action taken by museveni or mps!

The entire system & constitution work for museveni & against Ugandans!

We MUST STOP playing with worlds, but get Together & throw museveni out, then go for the kind of governance we want & this should be NOW before the demon owns each & every tribal land!

Ugandans don't have any margine left except UNITY as:

- tribal leaders go along helping the demon own our country,

- there is practically no opposition leadership while + 1 opposition parties only ensure museveni's continuity,

- mps have chosen museveni instead of electorate,

- tax money comes in time & in peace.

How will Ugandans have a say under this circumstance if they don't UNITE, as the rest of the world do?

How can museveni not conclude conquest of Uganda?
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0 #2 Akot 2018-01-01 19:22
[Seven-year term for MPs illegal]

Baby boy,

The entire tribalistic system goes agains each & every child in Uganda & humanity as a whole!

Yet, mps, elected by Ugandans have made the situation more disgusting constitutionally than it already was!

But then again, as long as Ugandans go along in peace providing tax money, there will be no end & more will join the filth, while the entire world just watches, simply because Ugandans are going along as if it's movie drama & all will be thing of the past the moment the screen is shut!

Would Mugabe be out if Zimbabweans hadn't woken up & United to bring him down?

Who are Ugadans waiting for to liberate them & who will lead them after when they don't accept just one of them?
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0 #3 Akot 2018-01-01 19:25
[If this parliament can choose to extend their term in office for two more years, what will prevent the next parliament from extending it for five more years and avoid the expenses of campaigning or, put differently, “eat at once and go”?]

Why will Ugandans vote in mps again?
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0 #4 Akot 2018-01-01 19:34
[It also undermines the essence of regular elections as a tool for citizens to hold their leaders accountable by either voting them out if they are not satisfied by their performance or by renewing their mandate if they have performed to their expectations.]

Thanks!

So, do Ugandans have constitutional-national projects passed in parliament & there is:

- National Education scheme for ALL children,
- Help to subsidse & modernise Agriculture,
- Job creation for the young,
- National Helathcare,
- Public transport & roads upgraded...?

These are the reasons people elect mps!

BIRUNGI DENIS, Happy New Year!
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0 #5 Akot 2018-01-01 19:39
[I have no doubt that patriotic Ugandans will not wait to petition the Constitutional court and that our courts will not waver to declare this illegality unconstitutional.]

This will be complete waste of time because the entire system was put in place & controled by musevei to serve just him!

Unless Ugandans Unite & throw museveni & the entire system out, there is no way the demon won't get more & more Ugandans joining him & they will finally hand over the country to him, in hour names through parlimant, without even noticing what they have done!

Is this what Ugandans are waiting for, to be constitutionaly foreigners in their own country?

Museveni must be the happiest demon ever!
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0 #6 Akot 2018-01-01 19:45
[But what the MPs did implies that it is no longer the people who have power to consent, but that those in power can, as and when they deem fit, consent/choose themselves to be leaders without the need to seek the consent/votes of the governed.]

Thanks, but,

Are we cleaver enough to understand what's going on?

Because if we were, this evil government would have been blocked by mass demonstrations & the age bill would not have taken so much time to finally be played about with by mps who have turned it into a game & have become worse than musevnei!

Another election of mps, & for what?
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0 #7 Akot 2018-01-01 20:00
[To restore this distortion, Article 137 of the Constitution mandates every citizen to petition the Constitutional court whenever any act, law, custom or omission contravenes the provisions of the constitution.]

How long will such procedure take to finally be thrown out, while museveni & mps consolidate their power thirst!

Now, museveni must be alert because he has his own fighting him from within, even when they use parliament to pretend it's not internal war!

Well, museveni has silenced, made tribal & opposition leaders work for him by tribally dividing Ugandans now so powerless against him!

Yet now the war is in parliament fought in the names of Ugndans, when in reality, it's nrm internal fight!

Oh, if there was National opposition leadership to Unite Ugandans, change would be a stoll, an evening walk!
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