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CONSTITUTIONALISM TOWARD SAFEGUARDING AGAINST ‘ILLIBERAL DEMOCRACY’ IN UGANDA: A CONSTITUTIONAL PERSPECTIVE

CONSTITUTIONALISM TOWARD SAFEGUARDING AGAINST ‘ILLIBERAL DEMOCRACY’ IN UGANDA: A CONSTITUTIONAL PERSPECTIVE

Hanifa Tyakagire, PhD in Law Candidate, Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyah of Laws, International Islamic University Malaysia.

ABSTRACT

This study aims to discuss constitutionalism as a tool for protecting Uganda from ‘illiberal democracy’. The study examines constitutionalism and its principles on the fate of democracy in Uganda. It offers a valuable constitutional perspective on illiberal democracy while giving insightful viewpoints on how constitutionalism can protect and strengthen democratic systems. Through an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of Uganda’s constitution, this paper seeks to contribute information regarding whether constitutionalism can be a viable approach to limiting government authority in instances where states engage in illiberal democratic practices. The study employs a qualitative research design to explore constitutionalism in Uganda and especially its prevention of ‘illiberal democracy.’ This approach involves the content analysis of judicial opinions as the legal doctrinal research is combined with the applied law methods. This will give a clear and thorough understanding of primary sources, for example, the 1995 Uganda constitution and secondary sources, including research literature and documentary reviews.

The findings reveal that illiberal democracy is not committed to the idea of ‘‘checks and balance’’ and, in particular, it maintains four fundamental principles: 1) the limits of governmental power; 2) adherence to the law; 3) protection of individual rights; and 4) preservation of democratic principles and approaches to interpreting the Constitution and is often a threat to constitutionalism. Consequently, the study recommends that changes should be called for through the way in which the Constitution is restored back to its 1995 status or that of the original version, as that would potentially reduce the presidential powers and strengthen provisions such as those regarding age and term limits. In addition, these reforms are in place to create a system conscious of Enlightenment ideas within society. By creating independent institutions to oversee government actions, constitutionalism can ensure that democratic principles are safeguarded against illiberal democracy.