The Department of Political Science and Public Administration on 1st November 2018 held a seminar to discuss the UNDP-funded Rule of Law and Constitutional Democracy project research papers. The event took place at Fairway Hotel in Kampala and was attended by members of staff and students from the Department as well as representatives from UNDP and Parliament Watch. Papers presented included; “Opposition Political Parties in Uganda: Between Resilience and Fading” by Prof. Sabiti Makara; “Gender and Constitutionalism in Uganda: A Case of Women’s Land Rights in Uganda” by Dr George of Okiror and Mr. Funa Peter; “Constitutionalism and Youth Participation in Uganda: Analysis of Implications on the Rule of Law” by Mr. Solomon Winyi and Mr. Julius Niringiyimana; “The Accountability Deficit: Democratic Accountability and the National Assembly in Uganda” by Mr. Lumumba Bwire; and “The Politics of Life Presidency Legislation in Uganda” by Dr Julius Kiiza and Ms. Winfred Nakazibwe.
Prof. Makara’s paper extensively analyses the role of political parties in shaping Uganda’s political landscape. It discusses the diminishing role of political parties in Uganda, points out the key obstacles to their effectiveness and makes a number of recommendations for improvement. It calls for the establishment of strong institutions that can guarantee predictability, a factor he says remains elusive in Uganda’s multiparty system of governance. “It is not enough to have a well designed party strategy because the environment may not allow it to be rolled out. It is not enough to have a big following of voters because they can be subverted and prevented from exercising their voting rights. What is important are leaders committed to democracy,” Prof. Makara explains.
In their paper Gender and Constitutionalism in Uganda: A Case of Women’s Land Rights in Uganda, Dr George Okiror and Mr. Funa Peter emphasize the fact that legislation alone cannot eliminate women’s marginalization as regards to ownership of land. They note that the patriarchal customs and traditions in various communities in Uganda regarding ownership of land continue to fuel marginalization of women. They advocate for the review of all the existing laws and policies regarding ownership of land so as to minimize discrimination of women.
Mr. Solomon Winyi and Mr. Julius Niringiyimana, members of staff in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, analyze the role of constitutionalism in facilitating youth participation in Uganda’s politics. They explore factors curtailing youth participation and examine their implications on the rule of law. They explain that disengaging youth in constitutional democracy results into the formation of pressure groups which pose a threat to the political stability of the country. They argue that increasing spaces for youth participation by the powers that be is crucial in promoting the rule of law in Uganda.
Mr. Lumumba Bwire’s paper seeks to address issues undermining the independence/oversight role of Parliament in Uganda, leading to an accountability deficit.
In their paper “The politics of Life Presidency Legislation in Uganda”, Dr Julius Kiiza and Ms. Winfred Nakazibwe analyze the forces that played around the amendment of Article 102(b) of the 1995 Constitution. The paper offers a political settlement analysis of the Age-Limit Bill that advocated for the amendment of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda so as to create understanding of the political incentives and interests behind the amendment of Article 102(b) of the Constitution. The aim is to determine whether state elites in Parliament and in local councils voluntarily supported or were politically induced by an assertive executive to support the amendment of Article 102(b) of the Constitution.
Participants made enriching contributions to the presentations including the need to consider the basic principles of paper writing and contextualization of research. The Coordinator of the Rule of Law and Constitutional Democracy project, Dr Suzie Nansozi Muwanga, cautioned the researchers to provide input that can inform policy formulation.
Once completed, the papers will be published in MAWAZO, a multidisciplinary international peer reviewed journal of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
About the Rule of Law and Constitutional Democracy project
Early this year, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) allocated funding to the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Makerere University to undertake activities aimed at strengthening the rule of law and constitutional democracy in Uganda. Under the Rule of Law and Constitutional Democracy project, the Department is expected to undertake research on a number of governance issues in Uganda.
The Department is also expected to hold dialogues and seminars to analyze policies, laws and other legislation relating to constitutional governance, rule of law and electoral policies in the country. Based on its preliminary findings, the Department will work with different partners to draw up an advocacy campaign aimed at broader uptake of the changes recommended. The project is coordinated by Dr Suzie Nansozi Muwanga, former Head of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Makerere University. It is overseen by Ms Anette Mpabulungi- Wakabi, Team Leader of the Rule of Law and Constitutional Democracy project at UNDP.