By John Agaba and Shamim Saad
Beti Olive Kamya has called for constitutional reforms in Uganda.
The Uganda Federal Alliance Party President joins others who have been calling for the change of Uganda’s constitution, notably the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga.
She said that the country needs to amend the constitution “so we can trim the powers of the President.”
Kamya was speaking at a dialogue organized by the FAWODE Young Leader Alumni Association (FYLAA) at Fairway Hotel in Kampala.
FYLAA is a youth wing of the Forum for Women in Democracy.
She said that while many Ugandans rush to point a finger at President Yoweri Museveni as the problem, “the problem is much bigger than Museveni.”
“The problem of Uganda is not the Museveni,” said Kamya.
She explained that since Independence Uganda has always had a problem of leaders.
“First it was Mutesa, then Obote, then Amini, then Obote II, then Lule, Binaisa, Tito Okello Lutwa. All these leaders came when we loved them. But they changed, and they left hated by almost everyone,” said Kamya.
“The problem of Uganda is not Museveni. It is our constitution,” added Kamya. “The constitution gives the President power to appoint the Chief Justice, the Inspector General of Police, the Electoral Commission, the Prime Minister, he is the Commander in Chief, etc ; so what do you want him to do? Even if I Betty Kamya became President today with that constitution, I will change.”
She said that the country needs a referendum to amend the constitution to reduce the powers of the president.
“Kenya had the same Problem. They went into a referendum and now they are moving ahead,” said Kamya.
She said that she was collecting signatures and now has over 850, 000 “but we need over 1.3 million signatures to ask for a referendum.”
The FYLAA annual general meeting was attended by a group of about 40 young men and women. They discussed issues ranging from the Uganda we want to see; what is Uganda’s problem; the role of the youth in Uganda’s politics among others.
Harriet Kobugabe, one of the participants asked Uganda’s leaders to emphasize good governance, and not to be selfish, greedy, and self-centered.
“We need leaders who have the people’s interests. But everyone minds their own self. Everyone is stealing into their pockets,” she said.
Job Kijja, the coordinator at Uganda NGO Forum, said Uganda was experiencing a lot of unrest, and uncertainty and asked the government to restore calm and certainty.
He asked government to focus on agriculture. He said: “Ugandans are starving. The youth are starving. But we should be producing 45% of all the food in Africa. We have the best arable land.”