The government has introduced the Judicature (Amendment) Bill, 2023, aiming to augment the number of judges in both the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.
The Supreme Court, the apex judicature in Uganda, and the Court of Appeal, which also functions as the Constitutional Court, hears appeals from the High Court.
Norbert Mao, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, presented the bill during a session chaired by Speaker Anita Among on Wednesday, November 22, 2023.
Among noted that the bill consists of only two clauses and directed the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, to which it was referred for scrutiny, to process and return it for the second reading next week.
“The bill has few clauses, only two clauses. I want you to work hard and bring it back on Tuesday for the second reading,” Among emphasized.
Expressing concern about the piecemeal handling of constitutional amendments, Among inquired about the status of the Constitutional Review Commission, which she argued should ideally oversee all constitutional amendments.
“We have a lot of constitutional amendment proposals, and we want to know if we are having a constitutional review commission or not,” said Among.
Mao reiterated that his ministry faced financial constraints in establishing the commission and suggested that the government make use of the Uganda Law Reform Commission.
“It is regrettable that the constitutional review commission has not been constituted. We have decided to recommend to the government the Uganda Law Reform Commission to take charge of the review process; it is a constitutional body with the ability to do the work, all we would need is to beef it up with additional members,” Mao stated.
He also mentioned that he had received 80 percent of constitutional amendment proposals awaiting cabinet approval.