Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo says going forward, government will not entertain political parties, churches and other societies in breach of their own constitutions.
Responding to questions after rendering a ministerial statement to parliament, Tuesday, Kampyongo noted that some societies had leadership wrangles because they did not understand their own constitutions.
“It is a requirement by any society wishing to register itself as a society or a political party to, among other things prescribe for itself how they are going to manage this society. And they do that by providing the constitution in the case of a political party and this constitution should be read together with Cap 119. So in this constitution, that’s where they spell out how they are going to manage, how they are going to change office bearers, what will be the tenure of office for office bearers at any particular time, and how they should do the process of changing leadership before any record can be changed at the Registrar of Societies and it is the same with societies such as churches and non governmental organizations. But of course there has been this issue of people even complying with their own constitutions, to some extent you see people that don’t even understand the constitutions that they have submitted to the Registrar of Societies,” Kampyongo said.
“Even these arguments you see, these squabbles in organizations, in churches, people squabbling for leadership, mostly, it is just lack of appreciation for what they could have prescribed for themselves as they were being registered. That’s why we are saying, with the new bill coming, in the case of political parties which is meant to actualize Article 60 of the Constitution, there will be strict prescriptions in terms of how people change office bearers, if it’s through elections, who should monitor these elections and the civil societies must be satisfied that all the processes that a society could have prescribed for itself are followed to the latter. Going forward, we are not going to entertain societies, be it political parties, who are in perpetual breach of what they have prescribed for themselves and indeed the law because it has been a source of what I would describe as organized confusion.”
And Kampyongo said he would not extend the amnesty given to erring societies to put their houses in order.
“I had announced an amnesty on these erring societies and surely, we have had more than a year, a society worth its salt would come up and make amends if they so wish to continue operating. I did also mention that these societies are notified, some of them, this is two years down the line so obviously, in two years, you’d think people have given up on whatever they wanted to do and if they are not even responding to the correspondence, unfortunately, the only option is to take them off the register because you would come to a point where you feel they are not supposed to exist,” said Kampyongo.
“Especially for the political parties, with the new bill that is coming, there will be much more that will be required to be done. For example, the intra party elections. If you are registering a party, you must be able to say, ‘we are registering today, for the interim, these are the office bearers, at point B, we are going to have elections structured this way to have full time office bearers and that will have to be adhered to without compromise. We will only want serious players. The current squabbles that we see in political parties, others calling themselves presidents, others consultants, which are outside the law. Even their constitutions do not even mention some of these things they start jumping around and doing. So we want to make sure we put the house in order so that in terms of going forward, we are only able to have serious political parties, churches, that are able to comply with the law.”