THE 1995 Uganda constitution is more of an illusionary law
All power belongs to President Museveni, who exercises this power through the armed forces. Article 1 of the Constitution is a lie – and the Constitution in Museveni’s Uganda is an elaborate farce that is cynically perpetrated by the President to consolidate and extend his hold on power. This is one of the great tragedies and challenges of ‘Uganda at 50’ and one that promises to engender more turbulent chapters in our political life.
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Is The 1995 Constitution An Illusion?
In my view, having regard to the constitutional, political and legal history of our country, I think it is fair to say that the 1995 Constitution is essentially an illusion.
The illusion begins right from the first Article which rather leads us to believe that [a]ll power belongs to the people who shall exercise their sovereignty in accordance with this Constitution and runs on until the very last provision of that document. The simple and unadulterated truth is that for a long time in our history, this has not been the case – and it is certainly not the case at present.
If one asked the Ugandan citizen on the Kampala street where the power lies, I believe the answer would be that ‘all power belongs to the President, who exercises his sovereignty through the army’.
This is both the over-arching and omnipresent truth of our constitutional age, and also the source of the big lie that underlies the 1995 Constitution. For it is the gun and the capacity for, and ever present threat of, the use of military force by the executive that currently overshadows the Parliament and the Judiciary creates the facade of democracy within which raw and unmitigated political power is exercised by an increasingly narrow group of people.
Of course, occasionally this truth has manifested itself for all to see. In retrospect, it was not insignificant that, on the occasion of his swearing in as President of Uganda in 1986, President Museveni evidently did not find the time to change from military fatigues into civilian clothing. Indeed, it now bears recalling that the fundamental change speech was delivered by a soldier in full military gear, surrounded by soldiers, in a city that had just been recently captured.
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is a Ugandan writer and blogger. Studied information technology with major interests in Journalism.He is passionate about sports but at times ventures into other fields
Follow me on Twitter @mechodu