The Parliament of Uganda derives its mandate and functions from the 1995 Constitution, the Laws of Uganda and its own Rules of Procedure.
The Constitution contains articles which provide for the establishment, composition and functions of the Parliament of Uganda and empowers Parliament “to make laws on any matter for the peace, order, development and good governance of Uganda” and “to protect the Constitution and promote democratic governance in Uganda”.
The term of Parliament is five years from the date of its first sitting after a general election.
Rule and Procedures
Uganda is a presidential republic, in which the President of Uganda is both head of state and head of government. There is a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The system is based on a democratic parliamentary system with universal suffrage for all citizens over 18 years of age.
The most significant of the Ugandan Parliament’s functions is to pass laws which will provide good governance in the country. The government ministers are bound to answer to the people’s representatives on the floor of the house. Through the various parliamentary committees, parliament scrutinizes, government programmes, particularly as outlined in the State of the Nation Address by the President. The fiscal issues of the government such as, taxation and loans need the sanction of the parliament, after appropriate debate.
The Ugandan parliament is composed of 238 Constituency Representatives, 112 District Woman Representatives, 10 Uganda People’s Defence Forces Representatives, 5 Representatives of the Youth, 5 Representatives of Persons with Disabilities, 5 Representatives of Workers, and 13 ex officio Members.
The Ugandan Parliament was established in 1962, soon after the country’s independence. This body was by then known as the Legislative Council. It had 92 members and was presided over, as Speaker by Sir John Bowes Griffin a British lawyer and former Ugandan Chief Justice in 1962-1963
During 1963-1971 second parliament was elected Milton Obote who declared himself President of Uganda in 1966. This parliament also witnessed the abolition of Uganda’s traditional kingdoms and the declaration of Uganda as a republic. The Speaker during the Second Parliament was Narendra M. Patel a Ugandan of Indian descent. This Parliament ended when Idi Amin overthrew Milton Obote’s government in January 1971.
In the Third Parliament (1979–1980), after the overthrow of Idi Amin in April 1979, a new legislative body known as the Uganda Legislative Council was established. Membership at first was for 30 members and later the membership was later increased to 120. This was the Third Parliament and was chaired by Professor Edward Rugumayo. This legislative body continued to function until the general elections of December 1980.
Fourth Parliament (1980–1985), during this period, Milton Obote returned to power with the Uganda People’s Congress following the disputed national elections of 1980. The Fourth Parliament ended when, General Bazillio Okello overthrew Obote and the UPC government in 1985.
The Fifth Parliament (1986- 1996), was established following the end of the Ugandan 1981-1985 guerrilla war. Starting with 38 historical members of the National Resistance Movement and National Resistance Army, the legislative body was gradually expanded to include representatives from around the country. The Speaker during the Fifth Parliament was Yoweri Museveni, who also concurrently served as the President of Uganda.
The Sixth Parliament was constituted during one-party rule (NRM). James Wapakhabulo served as Speaker from 1996 until 1998. From 1998 until 2001, Francis Ayume, a member of Parliament from Koboko District, served as Speaker.
The Seventh Parliament (2001–2006), was presided over as Speaker by Edward Ssekandi. The most controversial legislation passed during this period was the amendment of the Constitution to remove presidential term limits.
The Eighth Parliament (2006–2011), this was a continuation of the Seventh Parliament, with Edward Ssekandi as Speaker and Rebecca Kadaga as Deputy Speaker.