The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee has presented its report to Parliament on the Constitution amendment Bill, for Second Reading.
The Constitution (Amendment)(No.2) Bill, 2017, which was presented on Monday, 18th December 2017, seeks to amend Article 102(b) in order to repeal the upper age limit of a presidential aspirant, which is currently at 75 years.
Article 183(2) (b) seeks to increase the number of days within which an aggrieved presidential candidate can file a presidential election petition and Article 259 and 262 provides for the time within which to hold presidential, parliamentary and local government council elections.
The Chairperson of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Hon. Jacob Oboth Oboth, said that Article 102(b) should encompass all ages without discrimination.
“The age prescribed in Article 102(b) should be reduced from the age of 35 years to 18 years and the upper age restriction should be removed,” he said.
Oboth Oboth said that the Electoral Commission should hold presidential, parliamentary and local government elections within the first 30 days of the last 169 days before expiry of the term of office of the president.
“The determinant of when these elections are held is the term of Parliament rather than the Presidential term, which is prone to change,” he added.
The committee also recommended that aggrieved persons can file a petition challenging a presidential election within 10 to 15 days.
”The time frame within which elections can be held upon nullification of a presidential election should be increased from 30 to 45 days from the date of nullification,” the Committee recommended.
The committee also suggested amendment of Article 183 (2) to require district chairpersons to possess similar qualifications as members of parliament and be at least 35 years and be residents of the district.
The committee further recommended reinstating of the two term presidential limit, with each term lasting seven years. They argued that five years was so short a time for the president to implement his/her manifesto.
“The Committee recommends that the term of office of the president be extended to seven years but the legal processes prescribed in the Constitution pursuant to which such an amendment can be legally made be complied with,” the Committee said.
Who is Hon. Oboth?
Jacob Marksons Oboth commonly known as Jacob Oboth-Oboth (born 13 April 1971) is a Ugandan lawyer, intellectual property (IP) expert and politician. He is the elected Member of Parliament for West Budama County South who is not affiliated to any political party.
Oboth-Oboth is the current chairperson of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee and the former chairperson of the parliamentary Committee on Rules, Discipline and Privileges and the Committee on Natural Resources. He is a serving member of the parliamentary Business Committee.
Early life and education
Oboth-Oboth was born in Tororo District, on 13 April 1971 in an Anglican family. Oboth he did odd jobs to make ends meet in his childhood. From fetching water for a fee to store keeping, he did it all.
He attended Muwafu Primary School for his primary school education and St. Denis Ssebugwawo Secondary School for his O-Level academic qualifications.
At one time, Oboth-Oboth was picked up by American missionaries from Tororo streets after being sent away from school for lack of tuition. During his time with the missionaries, he worked as a store keeper on top of doing other petty jobs for two years before joining Tororo High School for his A-Level education.
Oboth-Oboth was admitted to Makerere University in 1997 to study Law. Subsequently, he enrolled for a management certificate course at Uganda Management Institute.
In 2001, Oboth-Oboth graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree and then in 2002, he acquired a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice from Law Development Centre. In 2004, he acquired two certifications from the International Development Law Organization; one in Intellectual Property and another in Public Procurement. He also has a Master of Law degree (2007) in election and cyber law from the University of Minnesota.
After graduating as a lawyer, Oboth-Oboth served as the Deputy Attorney General for Tieng Adhola Cultural Institution. He also secured employment in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs as a state attorney. He worked in Mbale for some time as the State Attorney Mbale Regional Office before going to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in election and cyber law at the University of Minnesota.
Upon his return in 2007, Oboth-Oboth resumed his work in government until 2010 when he resigned to join active politics.
His stay in the US had enabled him to acquire donors who offered to initiate projects in his constituency, and that in a way helped sway voters to his side. He found it easy to reach out to the poor in his constituency because he was seen as one of them.
Jacob Oboth-Oboth was first elected as West Budama South MP (Independent) in 2011 after defeating the then State Minister for Labor, Dr Emmanuel Otaala, who subsequently but unsuccessfully challenged his victory in the Courts of law. He retained his seat in 2016 after polling 20,653 votes against the NRM candidate, Phibby Awere Otaala’s 19, 462 votes. Oboth-Oboth set the record for being the first legislator to be elected for a second successive term in this constituency which had not re-elected an incumbent MP to Parliament since 1996.
In the 9th Parliament, Oboth-Oboth was the chairperson of the Committee on Rules, Discipline and Privileges and the parliamentary ad hoc committee to investigate the electricity sub sector; the Committee on Natural Resources.
In the 10th Parliament, he is the chairperson of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee and a member of the Committee on Rules, Discipline and Privileges and the Business Committee.