The government on Thursday evening tabled on the floor of Parliament the Bill to amend to the Constitution amidst wild protest from members.
The Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana who represented the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Kahinda Otafire, made the first reading of the Bill at 4:07pm.
The new Bill however, only talked about Article 26 of the Constitution meant to be amended to allow compulsory land acquisition by the government for infrastructure works.
There was no mention of amendment of Article 102, to remove the Presidential Age Limit, as has been anticipated in the recent past.
Before Rukutana’s full submission, the Shadow Attorney General, Vincent Nuwagaba who also represents Ndorwa East, raised a procedural matter asking why the government was trying to amend the Constitution in piecemeal instead of doing it comprehensively.
“Last year the Speaker and this honorable house pronounced that the Constitution should not be amended in bits. We agreed that a constitutional review commission should be in put place and study all the areas to be amended,” Nuwagaba said attracting support from both sides of the house.
Last year in August a private members Bill moved by Nakifuma county MP, Ssekitoleko Kafeero to amend article 102 (2) known as age limit, was rejected by the house and it was resolved that all the articles to be amended first be lineup instead of piecemeal.
Protests from members however did not stop Rukutana from tabling the Bill. Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who managed to calm down the members, referred the Bill to the committee of Legal Affairs to study and guide the house.
“Members, it is the first reading of the Bill. Let it go to the Committee and we shall be advised on the way forward,” she said.
Article 26 to be amended
In the current law there is no provision for the government to compulsorily acquire the land for infrastructure.
- Protection from deprivation of property.
(1) Every person has a right to own property either individually or in association with others.
(2) No person shall be compulsorily deprived of property or any interest in or right over property of any description except where the following conditions are satisfied—
(a) the taking of possession or acquisition is necessary for public use or in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; and
(b) the compulsory taking of possession or acquisition of property is made under a law which makes provision for—
(i) Prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation, prior to the taking of possession or acquisition of the property; and
(ii) A right of access to a court of law by any person who has an interest or right over the property.