PUBLIC DIALOGUE ON DEMOCRACY, GOOD GOVERNANCE AND THE RULE OF LAW IN UGANDA
Makerere University Convocation
Human Rights & Peace Centre
Topic: The Rule of Law, Where is Uganda Heading?
N. Amanya Mushega
19th April 2007 2
The Rule Of Law, Where Is Uganda Heading
The struggle for Rule Of Law, which has its roots in Democratic values, and respect for human rights did not drop suddenly nor was it just granted as a favor by benevolent people or governments. It is a result of accumulated struggles. Some visible others silent, some armed and others peaceful.
Rule of Law can only be brought about and sustained by an enlightened population that ensures that there is enlightened leadership. Let us look at the 1995 constitution.
There were other constitutions but the 1995 had the broadest consultations, debates by democratically elected people for that purpose. It took a long time to debate and complete. Its highlights relevant to the topic today are: -
1. Independence of parliament. The safest guarantee of any public officer is security of tenure. MPs are secure in parliament for the whole five years. Parliament cannot be dissolved. There was an attempt during the last major surgery on the constitution to give the President powers to dissolve Parliament but it failed. Secondly, Parliament has a lot of leeway in deciding when to convene and decides its own business. In some countries the executive can keep Parliament in recess for long in order to avoid it convening when certain crucial things are happening. Parliament also has powers to vet Presidential appointments and even has powers to impeach a President. Therefore the executive powers of the President are limited compared to the 1967 constitution where the President had powers to appoint even Parish Chiefs and, a Minister had powers to appoint all district councils.
2. The second provision critical for the rule of law is the independence of the Judiciary. The Judges...