Public Dialogue on the Proposed Constitutional Ammendments of Article 102(b)

Event Date
Tuesday, 17 October 2017 - 2:00pm
Event Info

Theme: The proposed Amendment of Article 102 (b) of The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda– Implications on Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law in Uganda.

1. Background

In 2005, 10 years after the promulgation of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, Article 105(2) was amended to remove the two term presidential limit. This allowed President Yoweri Museveni to contest for a 3rd term. Twelve years later as the same President is approaching the 75 years retirement cap, a private Member’s Bill seeking to amend the Constitution and remove the 75 years age for presidential candidates has been introduced in Parliament: The Constitutional (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2017 was recently tabled before Parliament by Hon. Raphal Magyezi of Igara West and referred to the Legal and Parliamentary Committee to gather views of stakeholders. The events surrounding these developments have caused public discussion and concern especially in light of the various rights violations both in Parliament and how the Security organs have treated persons opposed to the Bill. That aside, there has also been debate generated on the rationale, objectives and constitutionality of the proposed Constitutional amendment of especially Article 102(b) of the Constitution. Those who support the amendment argue that exclusion of persons above 75 years of age from contesting for the office of president is discriminatory. On the other hand, the opponents of the amendment argue that it would create a life presidency and deny Uganda the chance for a peaceful transfer of power.

The history of the promulgation of the Constitution guided by the country's political history which has witnessed only military transfer of power is given as justification for the opposition. The proposed amendment has thrown the country into a frenzy, with some sections of society demonstrating through protests to register their opposition to the amendment. Academics, religious leaders and members of civil society have indicated their opposition to the amendment.

There have been allegations of harassment by security forces of those opposed to the amendment. The violent acts of physical exchanges that took place in Parliament when the Magyezi motion was tabled is an indicator of how high the stakes are. The Special Forces Command (SFC), the elite force which guards the President entered Parliament to evict from the Chambers members of the opposition who were disrupting the presentation of the Magyezi motion. Some civil society organisations have been searched by security forces and accused of supporting subversive activities.

As consultation processes commence, the Public Interest Law Clinic and the Network of Public Interest Lawyers seek to hold this dialogue to contribute to the public discourse on this issue of great public concern.

2. Rationale and objective of the Public Lecture
The aim of the public lecture is to contribute to public debate about the constitutional implications of the proposed amendment in light of Uganda’s constitutional and political history and aspirations. The objective of the lecture is to create a space for different stakeholders to debate the proposed amendment with a view of guiding the public understand the implications of the proposed amendment.

3. Expected outcomes:
The conference is expected to set pace for public debate elsewhere and to inform opinions of the various stakeholders as consultations about the same commence.

4. Participants and structure for the conference:
The Conference is targeting up to 600-700 participants including Parliamentarians, Academia, University students, Civil Society Organizations and members of the general public. Participation in the lecture will also be open to members of the general public.

5. Panelists
The conference will comprise of panel discussions from carefully selected panelists and a plenary. Prof. John Jean Barya (Assoc. Prof. Makerere University School of law) Hon. Jackson Kafuzi (Member of Parliament, Kyaka South) Hon. Muhammed Muwanga Kivumbi (Member of Parliament, Butambala County) Hon. Monica Amoding (National Female Youth Member of Parliament) Ms. Slyvia Namubiru Mukasa (Executive Director, LASPNET) Mr. Andrew Karamagi (Chapter Four)

Event Venue
Makererere University Main Hall
Category by Unit
School of Law
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