Repealing Article 32(3) Will Cure Duplication Of Roles Assigned To UHRC Under Article 52 (g, h and i)

Barrister Peter Magomu Mashate

By Peter Magomu Mashate

On December 4, 2022, I wrote an opinion on this very online media platform-The Inspector, contending that merging the Uganda Human Rights Commission with the Ministry for Justice and Constitutional Affairs was in breach of article 54 of the constitution. This article talks about the independence of UHRC wherein, it states that the Commission shall be independent and shall not in performance of its duties, be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.penn state jersey vanhunks kayak black stetson hat oregon football jerseys durex intense vibrations ring dallas cowboys slippers mens air jordan 1 low flyease custom youth nfl jersey College Football Jerseys bauchtasche eastpak yeezy boost 350 v2 hyperspace oregon football jerseys black stetson hat nike air max 90 futura blow up two person kayak

At the time I wrote this article, government had mooted a proposal to merge various agencies including UHRC with mother ministries and for that matter, UHRC was heading to Justice Ministry!

Two years down the road, I am happy to note that there was a change of heart to preserve the constitutional independence of UHRC.

However, a new suggestion is on the table in which government now wants to merge the UHRC with the Equal Opportunities Commission.

The legal fact is that the two commissions are established by different articles of the constitution with UHRC being established under article 51 while EOC comes into play under article 32(3). 

The new proposal now poses a challenge of how the roles of the two commissions can be merged without infringing on the constitution.

When you give anxious scrutiny of the nature of the work of the two commissions, its clear that UHRC is basically to do with the upholding of articles 1, 2 and 3 of the European and Universal Declaration on Human Rights to which Uganda is a signatory. In other words, UHRC largely deals with the right to life and how you uphold it.

The EOC on the other hand, is basically to do with the right to access work, services and employment putting into consideration issues of gender and related aspects.

The question now, is how do we merge these two to compliment each other? Who will take the lead role? Is it UHRC or EOC? 

Looking at the constitution, its clear that UHRC came into force at the time of enactment of the 1995 constitution with its roles, functions, powers and composition well spelt out without the need for further enabling regulation or Act of Parliament unlike the EOC which came into force after 10 years when the constitution was amended. This historical fact therefore, takes us back to the old adage of the chicken and egg, who came first and why?

Further to that, article 32(3) which establishes EOC says parliament shall prescribe its roles, composition and implementation.

Therefore, the remedy is in article 52(g,h and i) of UHRC if we want to provide the basis for co-existence between both commissions.

This specific article/clauses give general functions of the UHRC which (to me) are consistent or same powers as those of EOC.

On that basis, there’s already harmonization of the two roles and therefore, that co-existence with UHRC retaining it’s name as the lead agency is what ought to be done by parliament. 

UHRC chairperson Mariam Fauzat Wangadya handing over a report into the welfare of police to Deputy Speaker recently

In light of this, what’s important is for the Artonney General or Justice minister to write to Uganda Law Reform Commission to bring a bill seeking to repeal article 32(3) to pave way for UHRC to absorb the activities and (any remaining) roles of EOC. Otherwise, there’s a duplication of roles and therefore, the merger is necessary in those circumstances.

Already, UHRC is more pronounced both at national and international levels and it’s work seems to be more closer to the wanainchi than that of EOC which is seen as an elitist rights agency.

The UHRC currently under Hajat Fauzat Mariam Wangadya and her team has practically established itself as a classless service provider no matter one’s level of education, status, religion, political inclination or tribe unlike the EOC which is seemingly a watchdog for the rights of (a few) elites. Therefore, EOC has no capacity to swallow an agency (UHRC) with a broader demand and mandate. Let’s repeal article 32(3) and only widen on the activities of UHRC to factor in any remaining (specific) roles of EOC which can’t be addressed under 52(g,h and i).



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