Makerere University law Professor, Fredrick E. Ssempebwa, says Ugandans are still naïve about governance issues.
While giving an insight on constitutional amendments on NBS TV Wednesday, Prof Ssempebwa pointed out: “the way the constitution has been handled shows our naivety about governance”.
He said people should be given enough power to decide for themselves what they want to see.
“This will remove any kind of impartiality and handicapping,” added Ssempebwa who was a member of the 1995 Constitutional Commission which helped draft the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and the Chairperson of the Uganda Constitutional Review Commission which was charged with reviewing the same Constitution six (6) years later.
“We made suggestions and amendments with legislature. We made a number of recommendation in the constitution review commission but only a few were taken up by Parliament,” he said.
Host: Were you working under the influence of government?
Prof. Ssempebwa: Yes. However, it was strange and unusual.
Host: Given a chance, would you reject the age-limit bill?
Prof. Ssempebwa: We actually did. However since president Museveni had served for only two terms, we saw no problem with it.
Professor Ssempebwa has been instrumental in the drafting of various pieces of legislation, regulations and rules governing regulatory bodies including but not limited to; the Insurance Act, the Tax Appeals Tribunal Act and its Rules as well as the Uganda Communications Commission Rules.
He says land is the only asset people in Uganda have hence cannot be seized by government as proposed in the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2017.
“You can deprive them of anything but not land. People may not have employment but out of land, they can sketch out a way of living.”
The professor said government should be respectable of people’s land and plan for any development and should compensate without fail those whose land is taken.
“Currently what am hearing on land is compulsory acquisition without prior compensation.”
As a celebrated Professor of Law at Makerere University in Uganda as well as the Universities of Dar-es-Salaam and Zambia, he has reached the pinnacle in the academic field.
Professor Ssempebwa has practiced law both within and outside the courtrooms with distinction for nearly fifty (50) years and he is a leading consultant in several areas of practice in Uganda.
He was a member of the Committee of Experts charged with advising on the amendment of the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya, was enlisted to advise on the Constitution drafting exercise for the Republic of South Sudan.
He sits on the Judicial Service Commission of Uganda that makes recommendations for the appointment of Judges in Uganda.
He was a Member of the Taxpayers Advisory Committee of the Uganda Revenue Authority(URA) from 2000 to 2002, a Member of the Minister of Finance Advisory Group on drafting the Income Tax Act, 1987 and a Consultant to the Ministry of Finance and the URA on forming the Tax Appeals Tribunal and drafting the aforementioned Tax Appeals Tribunal Act.