Legislative Process in Uganda
The legislative process takes the following steps when legislation is being proposed by a Ministry or Government Department in Uganda –
1. The Ministry concerned approaches Cabinet through a Cabinet Memorandum with a proposal for Cabinet to approve the principles for the drafting of the Bill. Cabinet approval in principle is required before drafting of the subject legislation. This is provided for under paragraph 2 of Section (Q-b) of the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders, 2010.
2. Paragraph 2(b) of Section (Q-b) however permits a Bill to be drafted by the First Parliamentary Counsel if the Attorney General or Solicitor General authorises the drafting of the Bill without reference to Cabinet. According to the paragraph, this authority should be granted only in special circumstances. The request for the authority should be made through the responsible Minister.
3. Cabinet then considers the proposals as contained in the Cabinet Memorandum of the Ministry concerned and approves the principles on the basis of which a Bill is to be drafted.
4. When Cabinet approves the principles for the drafting of a Bill, it authorises the responsible Minister to issue drafting instructions to the First Parliamentary Counsel/Attorney General to draft the necessary legislation.
5. The Ministry concerned would then request the First Parliamentary Counsel through the Attorney General to draft the legislation on the basis of the approved principles as contained in a Cabinet Minute.
6. Where the instructions are not clear, the First Parliamentary Counsel will ask the Ministry concerned for further instructions and where necessary request that Ministry to identify an officer in the Ministry to liaise with the office of First Parliamentary Counsel in the drafting of the Bill.
7. In drafting the legislation, the office of the First Parliamentary Counsel will interact with the Ministry concerned to arrive at an agreed draft.
8. The Ministry concerned may again consult stakeholders as to the contents of the Bill.
9. The Ministry concerned will have to submit the Bill to Cabinet for approval together with a Cabinet Memorandum and any comments of the stakeholders. Paragraph 7 of Section (Q-b) of the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders, 2010 provides that no Bill without exception should be published unless it has been submitted to Cabinet for approval.
In the course of drafting the Bill the draftsperson is required to bear in mind the need to keep informed the Law Officers namely, the Attorney General and the Solicitor General. This is regulated by paragraph 6 of Section (Q-b).