The 8th Parliament approved Government’s Amendments to various electoral laws; Government Amended the Electoral Commission Act, presidential Elections Act, the Parliamentary Elections Act and the Political Parties and organizations Act in preparation for the 2011 General Elections.
The Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2009: Amended the Parliamentary Elections Act, 2005 to require the Electoral Commission (EC) to declare a candidate elected unopposed where one of only two candidates withdraws or is disqualified for elections.
The Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2009: Amended the presidential Elections Act, 2005 to require the Electoral Commission (EC) to declare a candidate elected unopposed where one of only two candidates withdraws from an election.
The Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2009: Provides for the tenure of office of the Secretary of the Commission and prohibits the Electoral Commission (EC) from issuing duplicate Voters’ Cards on Polling Day.
The Political Parties and organizations (Amendment) Bill, 2009: Amended the Political Parties and organizations Act, 2005 to require political parties to cause to be published in the Gazette and to notify the Electoral Commission (EC) where any change occurs in the physical location of their office.
The National Youth Council (Amendment) Bill, 2008: Amended the National Youth Act to remove compulsory membership of every village youth resident aged between 18 and 30 years of a village youth council; to make the decisions of the village youth council binding on all youth I the village; to exclude non citizens from membership of a youth council; and related matters.
The National Women’s Council (Amendment) Bill, 2008: Amended the National Women’s Council Act to remove compulsory membership of a woman resident to a village council, to make the decisions of the village women council binding on all women in the village; to exclude non citizens from membership of a village women council, to provide for the Electoral Commission to compile, maintain, revise and update the Voters’ registers for the village women councils; and related matters.
The amendments were made at the end of the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament, May 19, 2010. On the same day, Parliament rejected a motion moved by the Shadow Attorney General, Erias Lukwago to present a Private Members’ Bill – the Constitution (Amendment) Bill intended to make “amendments to the Constitution to bring it in conformity with the demands of a multi-party political dispensation and political pluralism.
Other Bills passed during the Session include: the Stamps (Amendment) Bill, 2009; the Excise Tariff (Amendment) Bill, 2009; the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2009; the Finance Bill, 2009; the Supplementary Appropriations Bill, 2009; and the Appropriations Bill, 2009; the Domestic Violence Bill, 2009; the Physical Planning Bill, 2008; the Whistle Blowers’ protection Bill, 2008; the International Criminal Court Bill, 2006; and the Trademarks Bill, 2008.
Parliament approved the creation of 32 new districts, nine municipalities and fourteen counties that saw the number of legislators go up from 319 to 375 in the 9th Parliament (Excluding the Presidents’ appointees as Ministers who are ex-officios).
The new districts that took effect July 1, 2010 include among others:
i. Kalungu, this was part of Masaka district consisting of Kalungu county with its headquarters at Kalungu Trading Centre .
ii. Bukomansimbi, this was part of Masaka district consisting of Bukomansimbi county with its headquarters at Bukomansimbi Trading Centre.
iii. Gombe, was part of Mpigi district consisting of Butambala county with its headquarters at Gombe Trading Centre.
iv. Lwengo, was part of Masaka district consisting of part of Bukoto county comprising the sub-counties of Malongo, Kyazanga, Lwengo, Ndagwe, Kisekka and Kingo with its headquarters at Lwengo Trading Centre.
v. Mitooma, previously part of Bushenyi district consisting of Ruhinda country with its headquarters at Mitooma Trading Centre.
AFTER DISTRICTS, MPs OKAY NINE NEW COUNTIES
6 May 2010
Only a day after Parliament sanctioned the creation of 15 new districts, lawmakers yesterday went a step further and endorsed a government request to create nine new counties.
The decision, which came after heated exchanges from the opposition and government, effectively increases the number of MPs for the next Parliament.
Those numbers are set to increase if the House adopts a government request presented yesterday for the creation of nine new municipalities.
Deputy Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, however, deferred debate on the request and referred the matter to the House's Public Service and Local Government Committee.
As it stands now, the 9th Parliament, expected to come into force after the 2011 general election, will be 60 seats bigger than the current House.
Currently there are 333 MPs in the 8th Parliament. But with 14 new districts created last year--and another 15 approved last week, plus yesterday's nine new counties, the 9th Parliament will be 400-people strong.
By law, each of the new districts will have a female MP.
Presenting the request, Local Government Minister Adolf Mwesige told MPs that the government considered it necessary to create the new counties "for the effective representation and administration of those areas" after taking into account means of communication, geographical features, population density and the "wishes of the people concerned."
But MPs queried the timing of the request, the criteria used in selecting the new counties and whether the government had the money to provide for new parliamentary seats.
"By creating a new county, we are only creating new MPs but not bringing services closer to the people," said Ms Mary Mugyenyi (Nyabushozi, NRM), "because counties are not administrative units."
"Yesterday [Tuesday] we created districts; these are more counties. That means more members of parliament, but where is the money to put up a new chamber?" asked Bukanga MP Nathan Byanyima. "Shall we continue to sit on each other?"
His query prompted Deputy Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to inform MPs that Parliament had secured necessary funds for the construction of a new chamber, even though she didn't state how much. "We are soon going to break ground," she said.
Built by the colonial regime, the current parliamentary chambers were designed to accommodate only 80 MPs. Opposition MPs then moved to block the government request, citing constitutional provisions to compel the minister present statistics on population figures which necessitate the splitting of parent counties.
Others found moment to question why requests from their home districts for new counties had not been included on the list but the voices in favour of the new counties settled the debate.
Finance Minister Syda Bbumba told MPs that the government has the necessary money to provide for the new administrative units.