Court allows MPs to set their own pay

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Uganda Parliament

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has clarified that over the years, MPs emoluments have been determined in line with the provisions of the constitution.

Presiding over a sitting of Parliament on Tuesday, 20 August 2019, Kadaga said she was in possession of a Supreme Court Ruling where the procedure of determining Members’ emoluments under Section 5 of the Parliament (Renumeration of Members) Act Cap 259 was challenged.

“I would like to inform the House that court has recognised and reiterated the mandate of Parliament to determine emoluments of Members of Parliament as prescribed in Article 85 of the constitution but that this must be done in harmony with Article 93 of the Constitution,” Kadaga said.

The Speaker said that Parliament has only used the procedure prescribed in section 5 of the of the Parliament (Renumeration of Members) Act once in 2001 adding that, “since then, Members pay has been determined in harmony with the provisions of the Constitution of Uganda”.

The Supreme Court in a judgment on 25 July 2019 stated that Members of Parliament cannot unilaterally increase their remuneration without involvement of the Executive.

The judges upheld a 2016 Constitutional Court verdict that declared Section 5 of the Parliament (Remuneration of Members of Parliament) Act “unconstitutional.”

A concerned citizen, Wilson Mwesigye, petitioned the Constitutional Court to challenge decisions of the Parliamentary Commission to increase lawmakers’ pay based solely on Section 5 of the impugned Act and Article 85 of the Constitution.

Article 93 requires Parliament to pass a Bill tabled on behalf of Government if it is to take decision on increasing MPs’ pay, yet Section 5 of the Parliament (Remuneration of Members) Act, requires a resolution of Parliament if changes are to be made on legislators emoluments.

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