The Constitution made me powerless – Museveni

Once, Beti Kamya, before her appointment as Minister of Kampala attempted to collect signatures to cause for a referendum to trim the president’s “excessive powers.”

However, Museveni, who later appointed Kamya to his post 2016 cabinet, is feels that the Constitution instead too away his powers, and made him weaker.

Speaking at the opening of the 21st Annual Judges Conference at the Kampala Serena International Conference Centre, Museveni said that the way the constitution was written brought confusion, and weakened the presidency.

“According to the constitution, parliament can fix its own salary; you do not make hungry people fix their salary. I don’t what they [the framers of the constitution] were trying to achieve in a young country like this one,” Museveni said.

President Yoweri Museveni addressing the Judges

The President said that the confusion created by the framers of the constitution could have put some government institutions on a collision path but because he is cool headed, he has been able to avoid conflicts.

“According to the Constitution, if Parliament passes a Bill and the President refuses to sign it twice, it will pass the third time whether the President wants or not,” Museveni said.

Responding to calls by judicial officers to enhance their remuneration, Museveni emphasized that his focus is on infrastructural development among other services that benefit society generally.

“You cannot convict me that I only pay salaries and leave roads, electricity and other services. That I can’t agree because it is suicide. We should work according to the need of society as opposed to one who is near the pond,” Museveni said.

“I support the idea of enhancing salaries of judicial officers because their role in society is crucial, however, this we shall do in tandem with the improvement of the economy,” he added.

He said, the salaries will gradually increase as the country’s revenue collections increase but first priority will be given to scientists.

“It will be scientists first, then we create a matrix for other professions. For example I understand the judicial officers cannot do any other work, this makes them a critical group. For example why should an undersecretary in a ministry, whom we can replace in a day, earn more than a pilot or doctor who we spend years training? Pilots elsewhere earn a lot of money yet we were underpaying our instructors at Soroti Flying School, placing it at risk of closure,” Museveni said.

He agreed with the judges on the issue of understaffing but however told them that judiciary is not only understaffed sector.

Museveni also launched the new innovations that the judiciary is undertaking to improve justice delivery. Among the innovations are toll free lines, a performance enhancement tool for officers ,e-payment and Lexus nexus.