How a Private Member’s Bill Becomes Law In Uganda

Jim Burroway

November 27th, 2012

Ugandan LGBT advcoate Kasha Jacqueline posted this helpful tutorial on her Facebook page. I took the liberty of changing the bullets to numbers so we can identify the stage where the Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently stands, which appears to be at B.5, in which the committee is preparing its final report for the full House.


 The Process of the Bill in Parliament

How a Bill becomes Law

1. PRIVATE MEMBER’S BILL. Article 79(1) of the constitutional provides that “parliament shall have the power to make the Laws on any matter for the peace, order, development and good governance of Uganda”. A bill is a draft of an Act of parliament and includes both a private member’s Bill and a Government Bill. A private member’s Bill is moved by a backbench MP.

A. Plenary

  1. MP. Committee chairperson moves motion seeking leave (permission) to present private member’s Bill.
  2. Provides proposed draft of the Bill.
  3. MPs debate and vote on motion.
  4. If the MPs reject the motion; the private member’s Bill is dropped.
  5. If the motion is approved: printing and publication of the Bill is done by clerk to parliament.
  6. Bill is published in the Gazette
  7. Private member’s Bill is introduced for the first reading accompanied by certificate of financial implication.
  8. Speakers refer Bill to appropriate committee.

B. Committee

  1. Committee scrutinizes Bill
  2. Calls responsible mover(s)
  3. Calls various stakeholders and government in public hearings
  4. Reviews relevant and related laws/documents
  5. Writes report with proposed amendments to plenary

NOTE: The committee can only propose amendments and changes to the bill. It cannot make those changes directly. Those changes can only be made through the following steps:

C. Plenary

  1. Mover moves and justifies motion for second Reading of the Bill
  2. Committee chairperson presents report on the Bill
  3. Minority Report is presented (if it exists )
  4. MPs debate committee report on principles of the Bill
  5. Parliament votes for second Reading of the Bill
  6. Bill referred to the committee of the whole house

D. Committee of the Whole House

  1. Committee of the whole house means a committee composed of the whole body MPs.
  2. Chaired by the speaker /deputy speaker (referred to as chairperson)
  3. Sits in the chamber.
  4. Speakers leaves the chair, sits at the clerk’s Table
  5. MPs approve causes, and schedules of the Bill.

E. Plenary

  1. MP in charge of Bill asks plenary to resume
  2. Reports outcome of committee of the whole house
  3. Plenary votes for Third Reading of the Bill

F. Clerk’s office

  1. Clerk’s office prepares copies for authentication and Assent of the president.
  2. Copy sent to the president.

G. Presidents office

  1. President assents to Act of parliament*
  2. Act of parliament becomes Law of Uganda
  3. Implementation starts on commencement date
  4. Law is published in government Gazette

*president may reject to give assent

Constitution provides that the president shall within 30 days after a bill is presented to him/her either:-

  • Assent to the bill
  • Return the bill to parliament with a request that the bill or a particular provision of it be reconsidered by parliament; or
  • Notify the speaker in writing about the decision

The bill may be reconsidered and then presented for the president’s approval. However it may become law without the president’s assent if he/she returns it to parliament two times. It should have the support of at least two-thirds of all MPs.


November 28th, 2012

Tell Obama:

He has some newly found cred.

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