President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has committed to first tracking the formation of a commission that will review the 1995 constitution.
This development comes a year after the former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Maj Gen. Kahinda Otafiire recommended a 14-panel commission led by the former Attorney General Khiddu Makubuya to review the constitution with a view of carrying wholesome amendments.
“We have been having our constitution since 1995, some people think there’s need to review some of the areas so we shall appoint a constitutional review commission, ” said Museveni.
In a press statement shared by the Presidential Press Unit, Museveni made the remarks while speaking to the African Peer Review Mechanism about Uganda’s economic, political and social development.
Less than 30 years after its promulgation, the 1995 constitution has been amended several times the latest being the 2017 amendments that saw the scrapping of Presidential age limits that effectively extended Museveni’s stay in power to 40 years after the end of his current term in 2026.
However other than in the 2005 amendments where Professor Fredrick Ssempebwa led a constitution review commission, all other amendments have been made without having a commission to review the whole constitution.
The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) was established in 2003 by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee (HSGIC) as an instrument for the AU Member States to voluntarily self-monitor their governance performance.
While presenting Uganda’s Second Annual Progress Report on the Implementation of the National Programme of Action for the period July 2019 – June 2021, at the 31st Virtual Summit of the African Peer Review (APR) Forum of Heads of States and Governments, President Museveni said the country has made great progress during the period under review in especially in four thematic areas of; democracy and political governance, economic governance and management, corporate governance and social-economic development.
He said Uganda has continued to consolidate and deepen constitutional democracy.”For example, the Country conducted peaceful general elections, the Covid-19 Pandemic notwithstanding; Independence of the Judiciary has been strengthened with the enactment of the Administration Judiciary Bill in 2020; Promoting Pan-Africanism,” said Museveni.
But unlike the President’s comments that the 2021 general elections were peaceful, there is an almost general consensus that these elections were the most violent ever since the resumption of holding general elections under the NRM in 1996.
At least 53 people are confirmed to have been killed when the military descended on demonstrators protesting the arrest of then-presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu of the National Unity Platform (NUP).
President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa who is also the Chairperson of the African Peer Review Forum thanked President Museveni for rejuvenating Uganda’s economy and efforts to bring all Ugandans into commercial production.
Ramaphosa testified how the livestock he carried from Uganda is doing wonders in South Africa.“You can put me on any platform in the world President Museveni, I can testify to this progress that you are alluding to. It’s admirable progress that we should all be proud of. It’s something that we can all copy and emulate even here in South Africa,” said Ramaphosa.
The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) reviews 12 countries that include; Ghana, Rwanda, Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Algeria, South Africa, Benin, Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Mozambique.
The Mechanism uses a holistic review process that distinguishes it from other institutions through inclusive dialogue, independent and objective reviews, peer learning and compliance monitoring.
Next year the APRM will be marking its 20th anniversary.