Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni who is on forced leave has said he chose Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja to act as president just because the Vice President is out of the country.
On Thursday, Museveni reported he was taking a forced leave and delegated his work for two days to PM Robinah Nabbanja a day after testing positive for COVID-19.
In a statement, he also delegated the PM with the responsibility to preside over June 9, Heroes Day celebrations in Luweero District -an event commemorated annually to remember those who sacrificed to bring his government into power 38 years ago.
This however ignited debate with a section of the citizens asking why the president picked the Prime Minister for the acting role and not the Vice President Jessica Alupo, who according to the country’s leadership hierarchy, ranks 2nd next to the president.
Today, in a statement, Museveni clarified on the matter saying he sent Nabbanja to Luweero because the VP Jessica Alupo is representing Uganda in Lusaka, Zambia where she is attending COMESA summit.
This clears the air but experts have also weighed in on the Constitutionality of the matter saying the president’s decision is okay even when the Vice President is in the country.
Counsel Jude Byamukama, a constitutional lawyer, cites Article 109 of the Constitution which states that the Vice president automatically assumes office of the president only when the president dies, resigns or removed from office.
Clause (1) states; If the President dies, resigns or is removed from office under this Constitution, the Vice President shall assume the office of President until fresh elections are held and the elected President assumes office in accordance with article 103(8) of this Constitution.
However, Clause (4) notes; Whenever the President is for any reason unable to perform the functions of the office of President, the Vice President shall perform those functions until the President is able again to perform those functions.
Byamukama says, even when the article above seems to fit in president Museveni’s current condition, the provision cannot apply since he is still able to sign documents and dispense his roles while in isolation.
According to Counsel Jude Byamukama, Clause 4 applies when the president is incapacitated ie; hit by stroke or in comma but President Museveni is currently able to dispense his role as per the constitution, and therefore he is free to delegate his role to anyone he wishes.
As regards the President’s health condition, he states that he is steadily improving thanks to the COVID vaccination and booster doses he took.
“It seems immunization and boosters for immunization do help. I will keep you informed. Let everybody be fully vaccinated and the elderly get boosters.” he stated.
But the president said he will wait for two more days and undergo further medical test to confirm if he is COVID free.