Questionable legality of the 10 City Woman representatives in the 11th Parliament.

Questionable legality of the 10 City Woman representatives in the 11th Parliament.

Some of the Woman City representatives in the 11th Parliament of Uganda (Courtesy Pictures)

When the 10th Parliament of Uganda approved the creation of 15 new cities in April 2020, in line with Article 179(1) (A) of the Constitution on alteration of boundaries and Section 7 (2a) of the Local Governments Act CAP.243 on declaration of cities, 10 of them became operational two months later (July 2020).

The Electoral Commission subsequently gazetted cities as constituencies for women representatives in Parliament. SecretsKnown now places the legality of the 10 City Woman Members of Parliament in the 11th Parliament under the spotlight.

Article 63 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda provides that: “Subject to clauses (2) and (3) of this article, Uganda shall be divided into as many constituencies for the purpose of election of Members of Parliament as Parliament may prescribe;”

SecretsKnown is casting doubt on whether Article 179(1) (A) of the Constitution on alteration of boundaries and Section 7 (2a) of the Local Governments Act CAP.243 in creating the cities was followed. Is there evidence on the Hansards to prove that Parliament went ahead and prescribed the newly created cities as Parliamentary Constituencies?

Article 78 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda names the composition of Parliament of Uganda and SecretsKnown has established that City Woman Members of Parliament are not part. Below is the composition of the Parliament of Uganda as prescribed in this article.

Articles 78 (1) provides that: Parliament shall consist of:

  1. Members directly elected to represent constituencies
  2. One woman representative for every district
  3. Such numbers of representatives of the army, youth, workers, persons with disabilities, and other groups as Parliament may determine
  4. Vice President and Ministers who if not already elected Members of Parliament, shall be ex-officio members of Parliament without the right to vote on any issue requiring a vote in Parliament.

Could the City Woman Members of Parliament be classified under Article 78(1a) – Members directly elected to represent constituencies?  If not, and they are not mentioned under this article, what is the legality of their stay in Parliament.

Half of the 10 City Woman Members of Parliament are from opposition political parties (i.e., Forum for Democratic Change – 3 and National Unity Platform – 2), while the ruling National Resistance Movement Party (NRM) has 4 and one is independent though learning more towards the NRM party.

Beyond the legality, did the Electoral Commission follow the necessary procedures in gazetting newly created cities as Parliamentary Constituencies?  If so, under which law were they gazetted?

Isn’t there a possibility that the process of turning newly created cities and municipalities into Parliamentary constituencies required a constitutional amendment which was done?  How about the Municipalities?

In 2015 when government created 19 new municipalities and counties which automatically became legislative constituencies and increased in numbers of the NRM-dominated 10th Parliament from 375 to 427 and to 529 in 2021. Was the due process of the law followed in turning municipalities into Parliamentary Constituencies? One may have to go back and crosscheck.

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