Dr Sarah Bireete Championing Constitutionalism And Good Governance In Uganda

Photo Credit: UBC UGANDA


By Our Reporter

Dr Sarah Bireete’s star in championing constitutionalism and good governance is rising every day in Uganda despite the decreasing civic space. She is an energetic human rights defender who has set up technological tools that enhance civic space research while also running the Center for Constitutional Governance (CCG) for 11 years.

Speaking to www.ccgea.org website, Bireete said “at CCG we are innovating every day to see how to reach the majority Ugandans by teaching them about the constitution and giving them space to debate community issues that are emerging. Among the tools developed is CIVIC SPACE TV that is hosted on YouTube, a human rights tracking application, social media pages and a website”.

Photo Credit: UBC UGANDA

She said these tools had gained popularity in Uganda especially when the Covid19 pandemic hit the World. Uganda shut down the country and yet there were human rights violations and disregard of constitutional order in order to enforce the guidelines.

“We were able to reach so many people using technological tools so that constitutional order is not done away even if there was a health problem. Since then we are giving a voice to all categories of Ugandans who are given space to air their views”, said Bireete.

Dr Sarah Bireete is a Doctor of Humanities, a lawyer, a human rights activist and the Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Governance which was founded in August 2011. The organization has operated for 11 years. She is also the Chairperson of East and Horn Election Observers Network E-Horn.

Photo Credit: UBC UGANDA

Uganda’s political journey is seen through mismanagement of the constitution right away from Independence days when the first government led by Executive Prime Minister, Dr Milton Obote replaced the 1962 Constitution with a pigeon hall Constitution that ushered Uganda to the first Military coup of 1971.

President Idi Amin Dada ruled by decree after suspending the Constitutional until 1979 when he was deposed by combined forces led by Tanzania People’s Defence Forces. In the early 1980’s the situation was not better until the 1981 General elections that were disputed leading to a protracted war in the Luweero triangle until 1986.

Dr Sarah Bireete says there is evidence to show that without constitutional order the country goes through a cycle of violence. Pre-1995 before Uganda enacted the new constitution there were wide human rights abuses, the killing of people while others disappeared without a trace.

Bireete says the majority of Ugandans thought this would be history however to their surprise Uganda’s record of adherence to constitutional order has taken a deep dive. Our role at the Center for Constitutional Governance has been to raise a voice when things are not good.

“Some people think we are poking in their business but constitutionalism is everyone’s business. I will not keep quiet when people are being gunned down, forced disappearances are back, economic exploitation and generally lack of Civic Space”, said Sarah.

We share below some of the comments made by Dr Sarah Bireete on different forums as she stands out to defend constitutional governance in Uganda and Africa.

“Africa has all instruments of democracy, including the ACDEG. Article 25 of the Charter is clear; that no country in Africa should advance a constitutional amendment aimed at defeating peaceful handover of power.” – Dr Sarah Bireete.

“You have Uganda Parliament that treats themselves like horses and donkeys because if horses knew their power, men wouldn’t ride them. Like Martin Luther King said, the people can only climb your back only when it’s bent.” – Dr Sarah Bireete

“I don’t think that the current leadership can match up, 36 years is a long time. You cant pretend to be running in your evening years when you couldn’t run as a youth”- Dr Sarah Bireete, Executive Director, Center for Constitutional Governance(CCG).

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