The constraints to constitutionalism in enabling parliament to promote good governance in Uganda, 1986-2006
Kwaligonza, Henry Byenkya
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The experience of governance in Uganda has been one of exasperation. There has been bad governance, alongside a parliament responsible for promoting good governance. The aim of the study is to give an explanation for this problem. The study identifies elements of good governance, establishes the role of constitutionalism and what constrains it in enabling parliament to promote good governance, and also suggests normative recommendations to neutralize these constraints. It is hypothesized that the failure to respect the political ideal of constitutionalism has prevented Uganda’s parliament to promote good governance whence, if we are to realize the promotion of good governance by parliament, we ought to grant due respect to constitutionalism. Descriptive and case study designs are used in testing this hypothesis. The study shows that constraints like executive domination, suppression of human rights and freedoms, failure to respect established law(s) and devaluing them through subjection to individual or party whims, and abuse of office rationalize the failure to respect the political ideal of constitutionalism. The study lays down fundamental normative ideals to help neutralize these constraints. These emanate from the theoretical ideals of Aristotle and John Locke and they include; respecting the principle of separation of powers, observing the ideal of the rule of law, appreciation and reflection of human rights and freedoms as fundamentals to the very existence of human beings, holding the people as vital and therefore supreme, upholding the constitution and its supremacy, letting institutions rule, and uniting the socio-political as well as economic spheres of life with the ethical aspects of humanity. In the normative ideal the study suggests a possible systematic formula to guarantee a sustainable respect of the ideal of constitutionalism. This is done to cause an enabling environment with in which Uganda’s parliament can ably function as a promoter of good governance.