THE PROCESS OF REPEALING THE ANTI FGM/C LAW

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The Bill brought before the National Assembly by the member for Foni Kansala, Hon. Gibba, to amend the Women’s (Amendment) Bill, is now being dealt with by a Joint Committee on Health and Gender as part of the committee’s consultative meetings with stakeholders of the Bill in its bid to acquire informed opinion on the Bill.

At the end of its consultative meetings, the committee will prepare a report which will contain its findings and recommendations. This report will be put before a plenary session of the National Assembly which will decide whether to accept, reject or amend it. Their decision on this will determine whether to support or reject the Bill.

If the Bill is rejected, that will be the end of the process. If indeed the Bill is passed it has to go through another process to become law. In short, the President will have to assent to it within thirty days. The president has the option not to assent to it, but to return it to the National Assembly in accordance with section 100(3) which states:

“Where a Bill passed by the National Assembly is presented to the President for his or her assent, the President shall, within thirty days, assent to the Bill or return it to the National Assembly with the request that the National Assembly reconsider the Bill; and if he or she requests the National Assembly to reconsider the Bill, the President shall state the reasons for the request and any recommendations for amendment of the Bill.”

Furthermore upon reconsidering the Bill two thirds of the members of the National Assembly (39 members) should support the Bill in accordance with subsection (4):

“Where the National Assembly has reconsidered a Bill as so requested in accordance with subsection (3) and has resolved by a vote supported by not less than two thirds of all the members of the National Assembly that the Bill, with or without the amendments recommended by the President, be presented again to the President for his or her assent, the President shall assent to the Bill within seven days of it being so presented.”

In short, under this circumstance, if less than 39 support the Bill it will not become law. In other words at least 39 votes are required to compel the president to assent to the Bill within 7 days.

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