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‘NRM plotting to change presidential election process’

 

Aol (middle) flanked by Ssemuju and Nambooze. PHOTO @parliament_ug

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda’s Opposition has accused the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Party of plotting to amend the constitution to provide for the election of the president through a parliamentary and not presidential system.

Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze claimed on Wednesday that they have received reports that members of the ruling party are plotting for a constitutional amendment suggesting that the president should be elected through parliamentary majority as opposed to the Adult Suffrage system which has been used over the years.

Nambooze said that under the plan, the NRM wants to propose that the party with the highest number of legislators will automatically assume the presidency, and choose a leader from among its members, to take over the presidency, as was the case in the two Milton Obote regimes, at Independence and in 1980.

This would imply that Ugandans will not be able to participate in the election of the president, but the powers will be vested in a caucus of the party that will have more legislators.  Nambooze made the revelation during a press conference addressed alongside the Leader of Opposition Betty Aol Ochan, and the Opposition Whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda.

The legislators say that the move is being spearheaded by Bunyole West MP James Waluswaka and that the matter will be discussed during a retreat of the National Resistance Movement Caucus due to take place in Kyankwanzi, next month.

But Waluswaka has denied knowledge of the proposal, which he, however, defines as good for the country. He says that by following such a procedure, the government will be saving billions of shillings spent on presidential elections.

Kassanda South MP Simeo Nsubuga also dismissed the opposition speculation as unfounded.

Last year, Parliament passed the constitutional amendment bill 2018 that saw the of the presidential age limit from the constitution. The talk of the amendment also started as an informal suggestion among individual MPs but was later approved by the NRM Caucus.

Meanwhile, the Rubaga South MP Moses Kasibante will remain a member of the appointments committee.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga and the opposition have been at loggerheads over the leadership composition of the Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises-COSASEThe Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) appointed Mubarak Munyagwa the MP Kawempe South as Chair COSASE while Moses Kasibante was appointed the Vice Chairperson.

However, Kadaga rejected the appointment of Kasibante and instead allocated him the appointments committee.

The Leader of Opposition Betty Aol Ochan, Opposition whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda backed by several MPs were against the proposal.

Although their plan was to task the speaker of Parliament to clarify on how Kasibante ended up in two committees, the MPs have ceased demanding that Kasibante remains in Cosase.

According to a member of the Opposition who spoke on condition of anonymity, the opposition has accepted to let Kasibante remain on the appointment committee.

“We have not given up, but we have said let it be because it is what the Speaker wants and so we hope to get another vice chairperson for Cosase and Kasibante can come in when he can but does not have voting rights,” the source said.

On the time frame for Abdu Katuntu to continue the Cosase work especially the Bank of Uganda probe, the source said although they had agreed that by February 15th Katuntu shall hand over the role, the Speaker decided to push the date to February 22nd.

The source said they will now sit and wait until Katuntu hands in his report. It is not yet clear when a new Vice-chairperson of Cosase will be elected.

A member designated to a committee assumes membership or leadership of the committee immediately.

When asked about whether his issue has been resolved, Kasibante said because nothing has been done since the Speaker pronounced herself, he might remain in the committee designated by the Speaker unless otherwise.

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