|A Complete Guide to Uganda's Fourth Constitution - History, Politics and the Law (Fountain Publishers, 1995, 118 p.)|
* Commissioner for the Constituent Assembly
Prior to this new national constitution, Uganda has had three successive written constitutions (1962, 1966 and 1967 constitutions). Those constitutions were prepared in a manner that excluded the participation of the ordinary citizenry. This lack of a firm rooting of the constitution in the citizenry has therefore hindered the emergence of a constitutional culture and has equally hampered development of democratic governance. It was partly for these reasons that many Ugandans received with hope the NRM initiative to review the country's constitutional arrangements with a view to making a new constitution that would reflect the wishes and aspirations of the Ugandan society.
The NRM government lost little time in making the necessary preparations to meet the above. The Ministry for Constitutional Affairs was established to supervise and co-ordinate the process, and thereafter a constitutional commission was put in place to gather views and proposals from the ordinary citizens as to what they wanted included in the new constitution. Memoranda were collected from all categories of individuals and groups of people all around the country and a Draft Constitution was then prepared from these memoranda. Both the Draft Constitution and the Report of the Commission were handed over to the government in December, 1992.
The Commission for Constituent Assembly was established, charged with the responsibility of conducting elections of delegates to the Constituent Assembly who would then be responsible for scrutinising, debating, enacting and promulgating the new national constitution for the Republic of Uganda. The Commission was also to serve as a secretariat to the Assembly.
The Constituent Assembly elections were held during March, 1994, and viewed by international observers, donor agencies, local monitors and, indeed, the general population, with reasonable satisfaction.
In May, 1994 the Constituent Assembly was inaugurated and managed to complete its work successfully within a period of sixteen months. We now have a new national constitution, which is expected to be the focal point from which other democratic institutions are expected to spring. The promulgation of the new constitution has therefore marked the end of the beginning of a democratisation process that has uniquely stretched over a period of 9 years.
It is right and fitting that the new national constitution is received as the fourth constitution for Uganda. We all need plenty of helper materials to arm ourselves with, before plunging into the details of the chapters, articles and any finer points in the new constitution. That is why the Constituent Assembly Commission welcomes Uganda's Fourth Constitution: History, Politics and the Law. This is one way of steadily but systematically attempting to ensure that the people of Uganda, understand and eventually actualize constitutionalism, constitutionality and constitutional governance.