From 1962 Our country has gone through many experiences from our leaders and i want to let you know that these are experiences where men and women have offered a ropes for men to hang themselves. Below are sighted examples;
In 1966, following a power struggle between the Obote-led government and King Muteesa, the UPC-dominated Parliament changed the constitution and removed the ceremonial president and vice president.
By 1962 a well balanced government represented by Milton Obote from the North, Kabaka of Buganda – Edward Muteesa II from Buganda – Central Region and William Wilberforce Nadiope, the Kyabazinga of Busoga -Eastern Region.
ROPE NUMBER 1
Legally after amending the constitution in 1967 whereby Uganda was proclaimed a republic and traditional Kingdoms were abolished. Obote failed to understand the need to involve the people of Uganda through an election and this is where it all started the man was offered a rope to hang himself. Later since the man had been offered a rope Amin used the same opportunity to seize Obote’s rule ushering in a military government to the people of Uganda.
One of Milton Obote’s first moves after overthrowing the 1962 (independence) Constitution in 1966 was to introduce Detention-without-Trial, first of all through ordinary Regulations to be enforced by the Minister of Internal Affairs, and later through what was called the Public Order and Safety Act now the Public Order Management Bill. Seems like we have not changed anything from Obote to Museveni.
While we know of the more prominent victims of that law like Benedicto Kiwanuka, Abu Mayanja and Dan Wadada Nabudere, there were literally hundreds of unknown Ugandans who languished in our jails without trial, basically from 1966 until Obote was overthrown in 1971. If the Public Order Management Bill get to used many Ugandans will languish in prisons without trial. Looks like we have not change our routes they are still the same.
It is also not too long ago that Idi Amin came to power (a mere 42 years!) with a raft of military decrees that effectively closed down the press; monopolised political space, which Amin occupied exclusively, and led to the complete eradication of all imaginable freedoms, from what one could dress, to what one could eat, to who one could talk to. So NRM is now during the same things closed down Daily Monitor and Red Pepper. In Kampala and other areas in Uganda members of the political opposition are not accepted to address or talk to their electorate.
The only way Amin did this was to abolish the clause in the 1967 Constitution which stated: ‘This Constitution is the Supreme Law of Uganda.” And again, for those who care to remember, Amin was no friend of a free press or of any other of the democratic freedoms that are today enshrined in the 1995 Constitution. NRM has continued to abuse the constitution and constitutional judgements made by the courts. I will cite the simple judgement of Kampala Capital City Authority of not collecting any monies from the driver until council agrees on a specific amount which the minister of Kampala Frank Tumwebaze disregarded and moved ahead to offer new directives. Why is the rule of law?
Whenever a piece legislation in the constitution needs to be amended let it be by the voice of the people not a one man call because this only gives room enough to create tension and avenues contention.
ROPE NUMBER 2
In July 2005, members of parliament when asked to offer a rope they overwhelmingly gave their ropes to the man by lifting presidential term limits of the 1995 Constitution, paving the way for President Yoweri Museveni’s campaign to seek reelection in 2006 general elections.
The parliament voted by a 220 to 53 margin with two abstentions to give final approval to a constitutional amendment scrapping the two-term limit for the country’s highest office. According to the 1995 Constitution, any elected president has only a maximum of two terms in office.
We have lost the important piece in our constitution like the deleting the presidential terms limits that is the day we lost accountability of the only arm of government that is supposed to check the executive in all matters of governance. Uganda is better without a parliament because these men and women have degenerated to nothing when it comes to putting country first.
In 2005, they were given 5 million shillings to delete a fundamental piece of legislation. What were these legislators thinking where they sober when they voted for the removal of the presidential term limits? That piece of legislation was cardinal in our constitution because it provides accountability for the seating president to the citizens of the Uganda.
ROPE NUMBER 3
Removal of the right to bail.
If the automatic right to bail is removed, it will affect several other rights, such as freedom of movement, the right to life (in its broadest sense), freedom of speech and many others. It will also run against both the spirit and the letter of the Constitution, which reminds us to “recall our history” of tyranny and dictatorship in order not to repeat it.
The National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy enshrines binding democratic principles on the State. Article 3 of the 1995 Constitution also prevents any unlawful amendment to the Constitution which has the effect of suspending, overthrowing, or abrogating the Constitution.
In effect, the imposition of further restrictions on the rights to speak, associate and demonstrate will amount to an unlawful amendment because it will overthrow the very foundation on which the 1995 Constitution was built. While recognizing that all rights can be restricted, the extent of the restriction cannot be over-broad.
A mandatory six-month sentence without bail or trial for just demonstration represents the reintroduction of detention without trial, thereby violating Article 43(2)(b), while the focus on ‘economic crimes’ recalls the days of the Anti-Smuggling Unit, which wreaked havoc on ordinary Ugandans.
But most importantly, the proposed amendments would offend two other cardinal principals in the 1995 Constitution. The first is that of independence of the Judiciary, which gives the Judiciary the power to determine whether the conditions of bail are adequate or not; it is not the Executive to do so.
The second principle is contained in Article 126(3), which stipulates that all organs and agencies of the State shall “… accord to the courts such assistance as may be required to ensure the effectiveness of the courts.”
Introducing the amendments proposed would undermine that assistance. In sum, what the proposed amendments would do is to effectively overturn the Constitution.
Honourable members of parliament are you ready to give out the third rope and a fourth one on Gen. Aronda Nyakirima?