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REFLECTIONS ON THE 2015 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS: HIGH LEVEL STAKEHOLDERS FORUM ON STRATEGIES FOR COMPREHENSIVE REFORM

Prof. Ssempebwa, Ms. Karugonjo and Rev. Fr. Kato

On the 17th of September, 2015,  Kituo Cha Katiba (KcK), a regional think tank on constitutional development in Eastern Africa organised a seminar in Kampala and invited various stakeholders to reflect, discuss and generate strategies for comprehensive constitutional reforms. The stakeholders’ forum was organised in light of the constitutional amendments proposed by the National Resistance Movement (NRM) led government. The stakeholders’ forum attracted key players in constitutional affairs such as the Uganda Human Rights Commission, academia, constitutional experts and the Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC). A team of constitutional experts led by Professor Frederick Ssempebwa has, on behalf of KcK prepared a comprehensive review of the proposed amendments and made suggestions for comprehensive and meaningful reform in a book titled ‘Constitutional Amendments Reference Book’ in 2014.Father Kato, a member of the board of directors of KcK officially opened the seminar and welcomed all guests and stakeholders on behalf of KcK. He went further on to remind those present of the mission of KcK which is to promote constitutionalism, good governance and democratic development in the Eastern African region.  Next on the podium was Professor Frederick Ssempebwa who gave a synopsis of the work of the team of experts which produced a book reviewing government proposals, citing challenges encountered by the team in the process of engaging government and parliament on the proposed constitutional amendments. He stated that his team met with government leaders to discuss the proposed amendments and government expressed pleasure at the fact that the team of experts have compiled a comprehensive review on the proposed amendments which will help to guide government in the amendment process. According to Prof. Ssempebwa, government promised to revert back at his team of experts for further engagement and discussions on the constitutional amendments, a promise that never materialised. He ended his presentation by encouraging the stakeholders to continue their resilience on demanding concrete, comprehensive and sound amendments that will inculcate a culture of constitutionalism, good governance and democracy in Uganda.At plenary, stakeholders engaged each other on effective strategies that can be used to achieve comprehensive constitutional reform. There was unanimous consensus among stakeholders that the on-going dialogue on constitutional amendments must be taken to the people. On that note, stakeholders agreed that KcK must develop a programme of action that will ensure public outreach to grassroots community organisations, the church and other centres of influence to pilot the constitutional amendments in a bid to ensure comprehensive and people-driven reform. KcK was further encouraged to build post-election alliances and relationships with influential persons/institutions such as parliamentarians and the Executive in order to ensure comprehensive reform of the constitution by the next parliament.   Lois Sonia Nantongo - B,Volunteer,Depatment of Information and Communication,Kituo Cha Katiba (KcK): Eastern Africa Centre for Constitutional Development,+256 393 113321

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