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Uganda’s cultural leaders Bill 2010: What do you think?

04 Jan

The cultural leaders Bill 2010

THE Government recently tabled the Institution of Traditional or Cultural Leaders Bill, 2010 in Parliament. The Bill seeks to operationalise article 246 of the Constitution on the institution of traditional or cultural leaders.

PART I — PRELIMINARY
I. Commencement
This Act shall come into force on a date appointed by the minister by statutory instrument.

2. Interpretation
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires —

“court” means the High Court of Uganda;

“Constitution’ means the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda;

“Constitutionalism” means adherence to constitutional principles;

“Corporation sole” means a continuous legal personality that is attributed to successive holders of certain monarchical positions such as kings;

“Currency point” has the value assigned to it in Schedule I;

“Institution of traditional or cultural leader’ means the throne, station, status or other position held by a traditional or cultural leader and “institution” shall be construed accordingly;

“Government” means the Government of Uganda;

“Minister” means the Minister responsible for culture;

“partisan politics” includes—

(a) promoting a political party or political organisation or any of its activities;

(b) rendering direct or indirect support to a political party or political organisation;

(c) recommending a particular person to the public with a view to promoting that person politically;

(d) promoting the manifesto, aspirations or views of a political party or political organisation;

(e) making statements against Government policies or programmes;

(f) making statements or comments on Bills or motions under consideration by Parliament with a view to influencing their outcome;

“Privilege” means a right, advantage or immunity, belonging to a traditional or cultural leader;

“traditional or cultural leader” means a king or similar traditional leader or cultural leader by whatever name called who derives allegiance from the fact of birth or descent in accordance with the customs, traditions, usage or consent of the people led by that traditional or cultural leader:

PART II
3. Institution of traditional or cultural leader

(1) Subject to the Constitution, the institution of traditional or cultural leader may exist in any area of Uganda in accordance with the culture, customs and traditions or wishes and aspirations of the people to whom it applies.

(2) Subject to subsection (1) a traditional or cultural institution may only be established by resolution of not less than two thirds of all members of the district local government councils and the sub-county local government councils respectively in the area.

(3) For the avoidance of doubt, the institution of traditional or cultural leader existing immediately before the coming into force of this Act shall be taken to exist in accordance with the Constitution and this Act.

4. Installation of traditional or cultural leader

(1) A person may be installed as a traditional or cultural leader in any area of Uganda if that person derives allegiance from¡X

(a) birth; or

(b) descent,

in accordance with the customs, traditions, usage or consent of the people where that person is recognised as a traditional or cultural leader.

(2) A person shall not be installed as a traditional or cultural leader unless the person derives allegiance from birth or descent in accordance with article 246(1) to (6) of the Constitution.

(3) A person shall not be compelled to pay allegiance to any person installed as a traditional or cultural leader.

(4) A person who compels another person to pay allegiance to a traditional or cultural leader commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 24 currency points or imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or both.

5. Recognition of traditional or cultural leader

(1) Notwithstanding anything in this Act, a person shall not be taken to be a traditional or cultural leader unless that person is recognised as such by the Government by a notice published in the Gazette.

(2) Government may recognise a traditional or cultural leader as such of any of the existing Uganda indigenous communities in accordance with article 10 and the Third Schedule of the Constitution.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1) the traditional or cultural leaders listed in Schedule 2 are recognised as traditional or cultural leaders for the purposes of this Act.

6. Capacity of institution of traditional or cultural leader

(1) The institution of a traditional or cultural leader is a corporation sole with perpetual succession and with capacity to sue and be sued and to hold assets or properties in trust for itself and the people concerned.

(2) A traditional or cultural leader may hold any asset or property acquired in a personal capacity.

7. Withdrawal of recognition by Government

(1) The Government may in accordance with a court order withdraw its recognition of a traditional or cultural leader where the traditional or cultural leader¡X

(a) acts in contravention of the Constitution or this Act; or

(b) abdicates the institution of a traditional or cultural leader.

(2) Where the Government withdraws its recognition of a traditional or cultural leader the Government shall notify the traditional or cultural leader in writing and shall cause the notice of the withdrawal to be published in the Gazette.

8. Jurisdiction of traditional or cultural leaders

(1) The jurisdiction of a traditional or cultural leader is limited to the people within the community or area of Uganda who consent to pay allegiance to the traditional or cultural leader.

(2) For the avoidance of doubt, the traditional or cultural leader shall not limit the right of a person under article 37 of the Constitution to belong to, enjoy, practise, profess, maintain and promote any culture, cultural institution, language, tradition, creed or religion in the community with others.

PART 111¡XROLE OF TRADITIONAL AND CULTURAL LEADERS
9. Role of traditional or cultural leader in community

(1) Where a traditional or cultural leader exists in a region of Uganda where a regional government exists, the traditional or cultural leader shall be the titular head of that regional government,

(2) Where there is more than one traditional or cultural leader in the area of a regional government the position of the titular head of the regional government shall be held by each of the traditional or cultural leaders within the area of the regional government in rotation for one year at a time.

PART TV¡XPRIVILEGES AND BENEFITS
10. Privileges and benefits of a traditional or cultural leader

(1) A recognised traditional or cultural leader shall enjoy the privileges and benefits specified in Schedule 3.

(2) A local government may by resolution provide privileges and benefits to a traditional or cultural leader as the local government thinks necessary.

(3) Where regional government is established in any area, then the privileges and benefits of the traditional or cultural leader may be determined by the regional government as a block.

(4) Where a traditional or cultural leader is recognised in more than one regional government, the benefits shall be paid by the regional governments in equal proportions.

(5) Without prejudice to this section, a traditional or cultural leader shall enjoy the privileges and benefits that the traditional or cultural leader is entitled to under culture, custom or tradition which are not inconsistent with the Constitution or this Act or any other law.

(6) The benefits payable under this section shall be free from income tax.

(7) The duties and responsibilities of the traditional or cultural leader may be financed through central government from the Consolidated Fund as a grant.

11. Responsibility of the community where a traditional or cultural leader exists

(I) The community where a traditional or cultural leader is installed shall have the primary responsibility of maintaining the traditional or cultural leader.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (I), a person shall not be compelled to contribute to the cost of maintaining a traditional or cultural leader or any institution of the traditional or cultural leader

PART V¡XRESTRICTIONS ON A TRADITIONAL OR CULTURAL LEADER
12. Exercise of administrative, legislative or executive powers

A traditional or cultural leader shall not have or exercise any administrative, legislative or executive powers of Government or a local government.

13. Traditional or cultural leaders not to join or participate in partisan politics

(1) A person shall not, while remaining a traditional or cultural leader, join or participate in partisan politics.

(2) A traditional or cultural leader wishing to take part and seeking elective office shall abdicate his position in the institution not less than 90 days before nomination day in respect of that election.

(3) For the purposes of this section a person joins or participates in partisan politics when that person¡X

(a) becomes a registered member or card bearing member of the political party or political organisation;

(b) Provides a platform where the members of a political party or political organisation articulate the views, aspirations and interests of that political party or political organisation;

(c) attends a rally or debate where the views, aspirations or interests of a political party or political organisation are articulated;

(d) allows the facilities of a traditional or cultural institution to be used in the promotion of partisan politics;

(e) allows a person in the employment of the traditional or cultural institution of which the person is a leader to engage in any of the activities referred to in paragraphs (a) to (d).

(4) The withdrawal of recognition shall be by notice published in the Gazette.

14. Prohibited customs or traditions
A traditional or cultural leader or institution shall not practise any custom, culture, usage or tradition that detracts from the rights of any person as guaranteed under the Constitution or contravenes the Constitution or any other law.

15. Relationship with foreign governments
(1) A traditional or cultural leader shall not deal with foreign governments except with the approval of the minister responsible for foreign affairs.

(2) The minister responsible for foreign affairs shall develop guidelines for approval to be granted under subsection (1).

PART VI¡XRESOLUTI0N OF DISPUTES
16. Resolution of disputes

(1) Any conflict or dispute within the traditional or cultural institution or within the community shall be handled by a council of elders or clan leaders or a representative body chosen and approved by the community, in accordance with the traditions, customs and norms of dispute or conflict resolution pertaining to that community.

(2) Where the community fails to resolve the conflict or dispute in accordance with subsection (1), the matter shall be referred to the court.

(3) For the avoidance of doubt, the conflict or dispute referred to in sub-section (1) is a conflict or dispute relating to¡X

(a) Whether or not a community should have a traditional or cultural leader: or

(b) Who should be the traditional or cultural leader of the community or area of Uganda.

PART VI¡XMISCELLANEOUS
17. Publication of list of traditional or cultural leaders.
The ministry responsible for culture shall once in every calendar year cause to be published in the Gazette a List of all traditional or cultural leaders in Uganda whom Government facilitates.

18. Liability of traditional or cultural leaders

(1) A traditional or cultural leader is personally liable for any civil wrongs or criminal offences committed by the traditional or cultural leader or the agents or persons in the employment or acting under the authority of the traditional or cultural leader

(2) A person who purports to act on behalf of the traditional and cultural leader without authority or knowledge of the traditional and cultural leader is liable for any civil or criminal acts committed by him or her.

19. Symbols and seals of institution of traditional or cultural leaden

(1) Institutions of traditional or cultural leaders may have flags, anthems, seals and logos.

(2) Flags, anthems, seals and logos of traditional or cultural leaders existing before the coming into force of this Act shall continue to be in use.

20. Power of Minister to amend Schedules

The minister may, by statutory instrument, with the approval of Cabinet amend any Schedule to this Act.

21. Regulations
(1) The Minister may, with the approval of Parliament, by statutory instrument, make regulations for the better carrying into effect of the provisions of this Act.

(2) Regulations made under this section may prescribe in respect of contravention of the regulations, penalties not exceeding a fine of forty eight currency points or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both.

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8 Comments

Posted by on January 4, 2011 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs

 

8 responses to “Uganda’s cultural leaders Bill 2010: What do you think?

  1. Twino Speaks

    January 4, 2011 at 11:55

    In my opinion, the part that forbids cultural leaders from dealing with foreign governments without the permission of the foreign affairs minister is draconian. What is the whole purpose of this? Cultural groups may have their own programs with which they want to engage foreign government. An individual citizen, NGO, company or political party can contact a foreign government. Why should a cultural group not do so? I know many Ugandans that are officials in the S African government. If they engage with any cultural group, will that group have contravened this ‘bill’? Can you imagine for instance the Queen of England or the many loyal houses around the world being forbidden from talking to governments?

    I think the government of Uganda will be the first to fail the first part I mention above because of the various loyal families it talks to.

    The bill is correct on not granting prosecution immunity to cultural leaders. Nobody in the country should be granted immunity from prosecution.

    The bill also forbids cultural leaders from participating in politics and I disagree with these definitions of participation:

    – Provides a platform where the members of a political party or political organisation articulate the views, aspirations and interests of that political party or political organisation;

    – attends a rally or debate where the views, aspirations or interests of a political party or political organisation are articulated;

    – allows the facilities of a traditional or cultural institution to be used in the promotion of partisan politics;

     
  2. Peter

    January 4, 2011 at 17:25

    Most about every commentator especially those who hail from the Central region of Uganda went up in arms when word on the Cultural Leaders Bill started filtering through towards the close of 2010. They felt that it was mainly targeted at the extremely popular Kabaka, king of the Baganda.

    It brought into a collision zone the Buganda Caucus MPs and the rest of the NRM leaning legislators. Even as I write this, the debate still rages on. Business in parliament resumed today at 10am and the Buganda Caucus MPs immediately demanded the withdraw of the Bill till it had been amended to reflect the will of the Baganda (and, ostensibly, other stake holders). The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward Ssekandi-who incidentally is a Muganda-stood his ground and said there was no way the Bill was going to be withdrawn at this hour because of various technicalities which he attempted to elucidate.

    I will not go into the merits or demerits of the Bill because it has not been passed as yet. My concern lies in the reasoning most people have given regarding its unfolding: TIMING!

    Almost everyone is unanimous in their assertion that the timing of the tabling of the Bill was improper. Reasons given are-you see, elections are looming and you do not want to upset the voting pattern of the Central region by tabling an unpopular Bill (there are 4 million votes at stake here, give or take); you see, let us wait until the elections are over and then the Bill can be tabled; on and on, ad infinitum.

    My problem with all this is that people are more concerned about the timing of the tabling than of the contents of the Bill. Granted, the timing may be ill, but what then happens when the election is over, and per adventure, Museveni wins the next five years in office and life in dusty Kampala returns to normal. What then?

    Do these people think that the Almighty Son of Kaguta will think twice about dishing out some envelopes to his majority and asking them to pass the Bill by hook or crook? Or that anything will stop him summoning them to those late night meetings and telling them to vote for the side on which their bread is buttered?

    For now, he may relent and wait till the election is over and he has secured a badly-needed victory but I stand as a prophet to declare that when the election is over, if the man wants the Bill passed, he WILL have his way, one way or the other.

    And that is what rankles me about the politics of this country, those who practice governance and those who think they are being governed..

     
  3. Twino Speaks

    January 4, 2011 at 17:44

    I agree Peter.

     
  4. Grace Ssuuna

    January 13, 2011 at 06:49

    Can someone educate me on the section below:

    (2) A person shall not be installed as a traditional or cultural leader unless the person derives allegiance from birth or descent in accordance with article 246(1) to (6) of the Constitution.

    I am wondering where the likes of Ssabaruuli and Ssabanyala fall because both individuals holding the titles have confessed that they are not from royal familes.

     
  5. Timothy

    February 2, 2011 at 13:14

    I am too disappointed with the politics and political figures of Uganda. Fine, the bill was passed and supported by M P’s from the ruling Party but whatever the intentions were from our leader, God and time will tell.

    It is like Uganda no longer has a parliament and parliamentarians. We now have a house of corrupt self centered time wasters who are too corrupt, gready and so selfish. I can never waste my time voting for any member of Parliament under the ruling party’s umbrella because we the voters no longer have a say in that house. We are never consulted upon any decision or bill that the president wants the house to pass. Even when we try to ask that they listen to us before these bills are passed, it is a waste of time for the voters.
    How does this current government expect us to be patriotic when the people we send in to represent us are also being brainwashed by the same government encouraging it’s nationals to be patriotic?
    Long live Uganda and Long live Buganda Kingdom. We shall still remain loyal to our kings no matter what the politicians will decide after all some of the decision makers are also from Kingdoms expect if they are not Ugandans

     
  6. loverman

    February 15, 2011 at 09:36

    i think museveni is so scared, that due to his poor leadership that has greatly affected Buganda, one time the Kabaka will stand against him in politics. he wants, if so is to happen, the Kabaka to choose between sides, basically to quit majesty if he’s to stand agaist him, which risks his position as the Kabaka. There has been panic in passing the bill because Kaguta is so sure he will not even have 50% in the next parliament, so he needs such dangerous laws to keep him into poor.
    Fellow Ugandans, Besigye is not different from Museveni in character, yet Museveni is more transparent, a man with a vision, but working with bad people. VOTE for Museveni alone, dont vote for his friends, We shall realise a change when the mid govt is full of opposition, and the top is NRM. THANKS

     
  7. Josephine Osire

    February 22, 2011 at 00:15

    I think all this is a useless waste of our nations time and energy and is being used very effectively to divide Ugandans. We need to focus on education, human rights, jobs, good roads, clean toilets, health care for all instead of being consumed with misguided passion about traditional rulers. Museveni knows exactly what he is doing, while the traditionalists are busy fighting for “ebyaffe” he is busy getting the lions share. It is called ” Divide and rule”. Keep them busy fighting over nothing while you take the national cake!

     
  8. Anne Kajuga

    June 20, 2011 at 14:20

    I think all this is a useless waste of our nations time and energy and is being used very effectively to divide Ugandans. We need to focus on education, human rights, jobs, good roads, clean toilets, health care for all instead of being consumed with misguided passion about traditional rulers. Museveni knows exactly what he is doing, while the traditionalists are busy fighting for “ebyaffe” he is busy getting the lions share. It is called ” Divide and rule”. Keep them busy fighting over nothing while you take the national cake!

     

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