Uganda: Leadership Code Amendment of 2016; what are the important changes in the law?
The original Leadership Code of Uganda where commencement 26th June 1992 in the early years of the National Resistance Movement; so the Government of Uganda need more to revised and amended as the Minister for Ethics Reverend Simon Lodoko has ideas to make the Leaders and Civil servants more ethical inspired. This done with amending a new law and making it stricter and giving the Ministry a strong Authority with a legal power as the law propose to change a very subtle committee who discuss proposed leadership breaches with Parliament and Minister; the Tribunal are having more ability to actually following the breaching and unethical behavior from leaders and their snitching ways. That is why the Tribunal gets revised from a measly Committee towards a powerful Tribunal!
Take a look at important issues that are wished revised and changed to make the 1992 law better and more control from the Central Government!
In the original –
(1): “A leader shall not put himself or herself in a position in which his or her personal interest conflicts with his or her duties and responsibilities”
In the new Amendment:
(1)“A gift or donation to a leader at any public or governmental occasion shall be treated as a gift or donation to the Government or the institution represented by the leader and shall be declared so to the Inspector General; but the Government or the institution shall keep an inventory of the gift”.
There is a giant different between putting himself in a conflict and getting a gift. The Conflict is by approaching an offer that might substantially discredit the decisions alters the judgement done by the leader of government or in any government institutions. That is different from becoming somebody who get gift and has to give it to the government and institution who the leader works for. The gifts system is normal in many states as the leader and civil servants represent the states and cannot take bribes of gifts and such therefore these laws exist to make sure gifts and donations doesn’t become an issue to secure the vote/regulation/license or use the government institution to gain more than the competitor that doesn’t give or donate to the government leader.
Therefore the rule change is healthy, but will it just be lawful text and followed up the current leadership and only done as PR stunt as the NRM Regime hasn’t really been showing talent for accountability and transparency other than stern warnings and when donor aid has been cut. Then the government has swallowed a few bloody court cases and showing grand-corruption to prove their ability to honest budgeting; while going back to office when the court are gone and the questions from donors are silent. Therefore I have doubt that this law has affect as the Auditor General and Inspector General of Government (IGG) doesn’t even dig deep into the current corruption; so this seem like beautiful words, but will they acted upon?
Create a Tribunal:
Other key ones are adding a Tribunal that the leaders and representatives for government institutions report to and follow the ethics of their actions. They will have a chairperson that is elected by the Parliament and the ones in Parliament cannot appoint a chairperson, unless they can appoint a High Judge of the High Court. Which is part of the new 19 Section in 19A and 19B; this Tribunal will be elected by the President and Public Service Commission; with approval of the Parliament (19C).
This Tribunal will follow the case if non-else party is available to fetch evidence and collect affidavits as long as they believe it is “subject cause”. They can even interrogate needed persons even “abroad”. New in 19R (5): “The Tribunal may make an order in to costs against any party, and the order shall be enforceable in the same manner as an order of the High Court”. So the Tribunal will get the same value as a Court Order to follow the cases and follow the alleged breaches of the Leadership Code.
The strictest clear rules on the Tribunal is in the 19Z:
“A Person who –
- Insults a member in, or in relations to, the exercise of his or her powers or functions as a member of the tribunal;
- Interrupts the proceedings of the Tribunal;
- Creates a disturbances, or takes part in creating a disturbance in or near a place where the Tribunal is sitting; or
- Does any other act or thing that would, if the Tribunal were a court of record, constitute contempt of court, commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding twenty-five currency points or imprisonment not exceeding six months or both”
Another change is the total replacement of this part of the law:
“20. Report of the committee.
Upon the completion of an inquiry conducted by the committee or upon receipt of a report of findings submitted by the Inspector General of Government or the Inspector General of Police or the Auditor General under section 19, the committee shall make a report to the authorised person; and in a case where the committee or the Inspector General of Government or the Inspector General of Police or the Auditor General has found that the leader whose conduct was inquired into is in breach of this Code, the committee shall make such recommendations as it considers appropriate as to action to be taken against the leader.
The committee’s report under subsection (1) shall be made public and shall state whether the leader is or is not in breach of this Code in respect of the specific matters inquired into by the committee and, in the case of a breach, shall set out—
the nature of the breach which the leader has been found to have committed;
the circumstances of the breach;
a brief summary of the evidence received during the inquiry into the breach; and
its findings and recommendations.”
This with the amendment changes to this:
“(1) The Registrar of the Tribunal shall inform the authorised person in writing, of the decision of the Tribunal, within thirty days after the date of the decision.
(2) The authorised person shall upon receipt of the decision under subsection(1) take actions within thirty days.
(3) The authorised person shall report to the Tribunal in writing within fourteen days after the explaination of the thirty days referred to in subsection (2) of the action taken by him or her”.
Here the Tribunal doesn’t need to go public as they needed before, because this section is changed and amended with the new Leadership Code of 2016, this proves the writing happens between authorised person and the Tribunal and not to commit it public. It means within 30 days actions against a person will happen, but not publicly. So the Tribunal compared to the Committee of old can work in silence and act against somebody without common knowledge.
As the Section 23 original law says this:
“23. Procedure of the committee.
Subject to this Code, the committee may, after consultation with the Minister, make rules regulating its procedure under this Code”.
The newly amendment says this:
“Procuring information and attendance of witnesses.
Subject to this Act, the inspectorate may –
- Summon any person who, in the opinion of the Inspectorate, is able to give information relating to any matter relevant, to the investigation being conducted by it, to appear before inspectorate and to furnish such information and produce any documents, papers or thing that may be in possession or under the control of that person; and
- By order in writing, summon the person to attend before the inspectorate at a specified time and place and to be examined on oath”.
With this substantial change together with the others, the powers of the Tribunal is to inspect and get witness report or an affidavit as the summons of a person who might have information has to answer to the Inspectorate for the Tribunal under oath. The relevancy of this is the powers that the law might give the Tribunal as they can investigate and summon. Not only consult with minister after the code has been followed by the Committee. So the powers of following breaches of the set the law gets more ability to sanctions citizens. While the Tribunal get more power than a Committee that ask the Parliament for ability to act like the Leadership Code of 1992 does. Peace.