Friday, January 14, 2011
THE National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Democratic Party (DP) has asked the Government to withdraw the traditional and cultural leader’s Bill, saying it is unnecessary. The party’s top organ, which sat in Masaka on Monday, observed that the country has enough laws to regulate traditional leaders, adding that the Bill is designed to crack down specific cultural leaders. The contested Bill seeks to effect Article 246 of the Constitution, which regulates the conduct and operations of traditional and cultural leaders. Addressing a press conference on wednesday at DP offices in Kampala, the party’s deputy spokesperson, Kenneth Kakande, said the decision by NEC to demand for the withdrawal of the Bill was taken after extensive analysis of the Bill. “Deletion of clauses is not enough. The Bill should be withdrawn in its totality,” Kakande said. According to Kakande, NEC, which was chaired by Muhammad Beswale Kezala, also accused President Yoweri Museveni of usurping the powers of Parliament in order to pass the Bill. The president last month directed Cabinet to delete clause 9 (2), which provides for traditional leaders to rotate as titular heads of a regional government in regions where there is more than one traditional leader. The clause, according to the President, was smuggled into the Bill by unknown individuals. Besides the deletion of clause 9(2), the chairperson of the Buganda MP’s caucus, Rose Namayanjja, on Monday told the press that the President had reportedly agreed to delete a number of clauses in the Bill. During a Sunday night meeting between the President and NRM MPs from Buganda, Museveni reportedly agreed to drop clause 4(3) of the Bill which outlaws compelling a person to pay allegiance to anybody installed as a traditional or cultural leader. The President also reportedly agreed with a proposal from MPs to drop the clause that sets conditions for recognising a traditional leader and grounds for withdrawing the recognition. The MPs, according to Namayanjja, further agreed to drop clause 8, which spells out the jurisdiction of cultural leaders. During the same meeting, the MPs proposed that a list of recognised traditional leaders in the Bill be dropped because it places the Ssabaruuli at the same level with the Kabaka of Buganda. The president reportedly agreed to the proposal.