MPs approved a motion by government for the review of representation of special interest groups in parliament amidst protest by some MPs
By Henry Sekanjako
PARLIAMENT has maintained the representation of all special interest groups in Parliament ahead of the 2016 general elections.
The special interest groups include People with disabilities (PWDs) the youth, the army and workers.
On Tuesday evening the MPs approved a motion by government for the review of representation of special interest groups in parliament amidst protest by some MPs who wanted the army representation in parliament scrapped.
The House resolved that in accordance with section 8(3) of the parliamentary Elections Act, 2005 and Article 78(2) of the constitution, the representation in parliament under Article 78 (1) (b) and (c) is reviewed for the purpose of retaining the representation of the special interest groups.
Parliament through section 11 of the parliamentary Elections Act, 2001 (Act No.8 of 2001) made provisions for district women representation and for representation of Uganda People’s Defense Force (10), Youth (5), workers (5) and People with disabilities (5) representatives.
However debating the motion yesterday, the MPs across the political divide demanded that the representation of the army in parliament is revised to bar the army from partisan politics.
“The army should not participate in politics, by them being in this House we are violating the constitution we can keep the other groups but for the army there is no justification the UPDF should stay,” explained Rubaga MP Ken Lukyamuzi.
The MPs noted that having the army in parliament contravened the constitution which bars members of the Uganda People’s Defense Force from participating in politics.
“Although the army MPs don’t vote in this House, they do participate in debate. They should leave the House and go do other work like keep peace in the country,” said William Nzoghu (Busongora).
Jovah Kamateeka (Mitooma district) noted that the army should stay in parliament but only switch sits and avoid sitting on the government side.
The MPs also contended that the army also needed to stay in parliament and have a feel of the different polices made by parliament for the day today running of the country.
“ The UPDF is legally in this House, instead of sending them away we should rather add on the number of other interest groups like the workers, youth and the PWDs so that the number equals to that of the army which has ten representatives in this House,” said Sam Lyomoki the Workers’ MP.
In its ruling recently, the constitutional court blocked the forthcoming parliamentary elections for the representatives of the army, youth and workers MPs and declared unconstitutional the existing laws that govern elections of the representatives of the MPs for the army, workers and the youth.
The court made a ruling following a petition filed in 2010, challenging the constitutionality of the procedures used to elect the MPs representing the UPDF, the youth, workers and people with disabilities (PWDS).
The court however, ruled that the law for election of the representatives of the PWDS passes constitutional muster and therefore gives a green light for their election in 2016.
Special interest groups to stay in Parliament