Scribes to discuss elections, democracy and constitutionalism

[ABOVE] Minister of justice and constitutional affairs Prof.Ephraim Kamuntu, signing statutory instruments in his posh office. 

Scribes to discuss elections, democracy and constitutionalism

By Kitts D. Mabonga

KAMPALA

The media fraternity in Uganda is set to discuss and learn more about the aforesaid PIL case and its implications for democracy and constitutionalism in Uganda with a view to influence informed media reporting on the matter and public to interest litigation and constitutional development in Uganda in general.

The special dialogue is set to happen early this week in Kampala focusing on the case between Prof. Frederick .E. Ssempebwa, Prof. Frederick W. Jjuuko and Kituo Cha Katiba [KcK] v Attorney General, Civil application No.05 of 2019.

The workshop shall be facilitated by two of the legal experts and consultants that were involved both in the conceptualization and litigation of the PIL case.

TEMPLE OF JUSTICE

The breakfast meeting according to a press release, shall target over 40  Media personnel  operating within the environs of Kampala Metropolitan who may include, political talk show moderators, court reporters, general reporters and anchors among others from various media houses- print and electronic while twenty female journalists shall be targeted in adherence to the gender policy of KcK.

The statement is reproduced below

Concept Note

In 2016, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni the incumbent leader was declared winner and duly elected President of Uganda after the general presidential and parliamentary elections held on the 18th February, 2016.

One of the presidential candidates that ran against Mr. Museveni, Hon. Amama Mbabazi challenged the result of the election in Amama Mbabazi v Kaguta Museveni &

2 Ors,1 and sought a declaration that Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was not validly elected and an order for the election be annulled.

On the 31st March 2016, the Supreme Court in its judgment upheld the election and dismissed the petition. However, their Lordships made 10 recommendations aimed at facilitating electoral reform generally and presidential elections in particular.

These recommendations revolved around the time for filing and determination of the presidential electoral petitions; evidence used in such petitions; the time for holding fresh elections in case a petition is upheld; the use of technology in elections; unequal use of State owned media during the electoral process in favor of the incumbent to the detriment of the opposition; the late enactment of relevant legislation for electoral reforms; donations during election period including those by the President; involvement of public officers in political campaigns: the role of the Attorney General in election petitions and in implementation of recommendations of the Supreme Court.

PAST AND PRESENT TOP JUDICIARY BOSSES IN UGANDA; [R-L]Former Attorney general Rukutana,Jackson Kafuuzi the deputy attorney general and state minister for constitutional affairs and the current overall  cabinet minister  Prof.Ephraim Kamuntu among other chiefs pose for a memorable picture recently in Kampala.

More fundamentally and to break with the past where the Court had issued orders that were not implemented, this time round, the Supreme Court issued specific orders directed at a specific government institution for accountability.

The orders were:

  1. I. “The Attorney General must follow up the recommendations made by this Court with the other organs of State, namely Parliament and the Executive;
  2. II. The Attorney General shall report to the Court within two years from the date of this  Judgment the   measures that   have   been   taken   to   implement these

Recommendations;

Interventions

At the end of the 2 years stipulated by the Supreme Court as the period within which measures to implement the electoral reforms were supposed to been implemented, no electoral reforms had been tabled before Parliament.

To this end, Kituo cha Katiba (KcK) together with two prominent Professors filed an application before the Supreme Court of Uganda on the 24th March 2019.

Through this legal action, the three parties sought to hold the Attorney general of Uganda in contempt both personally and officially for failing to honour the aforementioned Court orders that are centered on electoral reform.

The matter was heard in April and May, 2020 and the Supreme Court delivered its judgment on 25th June, 2020.

Whereas the Court did not find the Attorney General in contempt, the Court nevertheless issued new critical orders that were to transform the electoral democracy terrain in this country.

The Court ordered that the Attorney General must in consultation with other organs of the State ensure that priority is given to the implementation of all Court’s recommendations outlined in the Amama Mbabazi case of 2016- of tabling the necessary electoral reforms in time.

It ruled that the proposed legislation aimed at operationalizing Court’s 2016 recommendations on electoral reform should be laid before Parliament within one month from the date of the ruling.

The Attorney General was ordered to report to the Supreme Court on the progress of the proposed legislation within three months from the date of the ruling. And lastly, that the Attorney General was ordered to make a final report on the progress of the proposed legislation within six months from the date of the ruling.

HISTORY OF KcK

Establishment

DEMANDING FOR FAIR PARTICIPATION IN DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE; Members of the civil society organizations participating in the launch of one of the key books that stimulate debate on elections,democracy and constitutionalism. 

The emergence of Kituo cha Katiba: Eastern African Centre for Constitutional Development (KcK) in 1997 was a logical embodiment of an historic opportunity for the peoples of Eastern Africa to reshape the social contract with their governments. Since the opening up of political space for democratization in Eastern Africa and Africa as a whole, the people have progressively, though painstakingly, been empowered to hold their governments accountable and have their aspirations, welfare needs and other rights promoted and protected.

The founder members of KcK having recognized that an emerging culture of constitutionalism requires an organizational apparatus and strategic focus in order to make practical progress, commissioned consultations by Center for Basic Research (CBR) that targeted diverse respondents in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The process brought to the fore the imperative to promote the active participation of civil society in good governance and democratic development and to consequently ingrain a culture of constitutionalism.

Additionally, the 1999 East African Treaty establishing the East African Community (EAC) confirmed KcK’s relevance as a regional body focusing on research, documentation, networking and advocacy on constitutionalism, good governance and democratic development. KcK is registered in Uganda as a non-governmental organization and a company limited by guarantee. The organisation was subsequently registered as a company limited by guarantee in Tanzania Zanzibar and as a company limited by guarantee in Kenya.

Inaugural Strategic Objectives:

  1. Advance the science, processes and art of constitution making, constitutionalism and democratic governance through basic, comparative and applied research.
  2. Commission state-of-the-art studies on various dimensions of constitution making, constitutionalism and democratic governance in the region.
  3. Promote the values and an ethos of constitutionalism and gender equality and equity throughout the East African region.
  4. Highlight and address the plight of disadvantaged social, cultural, economic and political groups in the region, including minorities, refugees and people with disabilities.
  5. Collect and compile the testimonies of prominent East Africans intricately involved in the processes of constitutional evolution and development in the region and to foster the contribution of grassroots operatives to these processes.
  6. Host an annual lecture by a prominent East African on constitutionalism and constitutional development in East Africa, and widely disseminate the text of the lecture throughout the region and beyond.
  7. Undertake information collection, data banking, archiving, publication and dissemination through the mechanism of seminars, workshops and conferences, and to promote the use of new forms of media and electronic technology in fostering public debate and dialogue.
  8. Create and maintain a directory of individuals and institutions committed to the ideals of constitutionalism and democratic governance.
  9. Encourage, support and facilitate the reform of school and university curricula incorporating aspects relating to constitution making, constitutionalism and democratic governance.
  10. Act as a regional watchdog for the protection, promotion and enhancement of constitution making, constitutionalism and democratic governance.

 

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