President Museveni has declined to approve Sexual Offences and Succession Bills. The President instead decided to return the bills to Parliament for review, according to the Deputy Speaker, Anita Among.
Among said the President explained that the Succession (Amendment) Bill, 2021 needed to be reviewed because with the new clauses included, it would most likely bring disharmony between the surviving spouse and dependant relatives.
Under Clause 14(c), where the intestate is survived by a spouse and a dependant relative with no lineal descendants, the spouse shall receive 80% and the dependant shall receive 20% of the whole property of the intestate.
“This is a complete departure from the earlier provisions of the law with no clear justification. It will interfere with the beneficiary’s interests where the surviving spouse’s share increases from 50% to 80 per cent and reduces the dependent relatives share from 49% to 20%,” Museveni asserted in a statement.
“This amendment would not only be unfair to the dependant’s relatives but would create misunderstandings between the surviving spouse and the dependant relative.” He added
According to the President, more research is needed to be carried out so that a clear justification is given for reducing or increasing the shares clearly stipulated in the current law.
Currently the law gives for 50% of the estate to the widow or widower, 49% of the estate to the dependant relative and 1% to the customary heir.
“I have been informed that Uganda Law Reform Commission had earlier carried out a comprehensive review of all criminal related laws. Amendments to the Penal Code Act, Magistrate Court Act and Trial on Indictment Act and Evidence Act were presented by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee but were never considered,” Museveni’s letter reads further.
The Sexual Offences and Succession Bills were passed on 4 May 2021 and 30 April 2021 respectively.
Article 91 of the Constitution requires that as soon as a Bill is passed, it has to be passed to the President for a rubber stamp. The President shall within thirty days after a Bill is passed to him or her;
(a) assent to the Bill; (b) return the Bill to Parliament with a request that the Bill or a particular provision of it be reconsidered by Parliament; or (c) notify the Speaker in writing that he or she refuses to put a rubber stamp to the Bill.
The Deputy Speaker forwarded the Bills to the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for reviewing.