n Conflict Trends - Constitutional and political trends

Volume 2002, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1561-9818



Constitutional developments in Uganda continue to be dominated by the debate between the Movement system and the Multi-party system of government. Ugandan opposition parties have expressed concern about the Political Organisations Bill, recently passed in parliament to regulate political parties. Clause 21 of the Bill allows political parties to open offices and engage in political activities at national level, but not at district, municipal, sub-county, ward and village levels. The Bill was passed as an amendment to Section 269 of the Constitution of Uganda, which places restrictions on the operation of political parties. Political parties in the country are, however, divided over whether they should boycott the registration requirement under the new law to protest the passing of the Bill. The new law requires them to register within the next six months. Some of the main parties prefer to remain within the system so as to influence it from within, while others are calling for a complete boycott. Others are still undecided about their next course of action. The parties are also concerned about the manner in which the Bill was passed, citing the rejection of a motion by the opposition seeking a secret ballot for the Bill, as normally provided for by parliamentary rules when voting on controversial matters. Meanwhile donors, too, have expressed their concern over the Bill. Thirteen heads of mission accredited to Uganda voiced their concerns during a meeting with one of the senior leaders in the office of the President. They were also concerned about the slowness in the constitutional review process and the lack of dialogue between the Movement and political parties.

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