The Equal Opportunities Act and the Commission

The Equal Opportunities Act and the Commission

The Equal Opportunities Commission is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament to effectuate Article 32(3) of the Constitution of Uganda.

The following key provisions of the Equal Opportunities Act give details about the establishment of the Commission, its membership and independence.

The Equal Opportunities Act provides as follows:

Section 2:
Establishment of the Commission
  1. In accordance with article 32 (3) of the Constitution, there is established a Commission called the Equal Opportunities Commission.
  2. The Commission shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue or be sued in its corporate name and, may do, enjoy or suffer anything that bodies corporate lawfully do, enjoy or suffer.
Section 3:
Independence of the Commission

Subject to the Constitution, the Commission shall, in exercise of its functions, be independent and shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.

Section 4:
Seal of the Commission
  1. The seal of the Commission shall be:
    1. in such form as the Commission may determine;
    2. applied in such circumstances as the Commission may determine, subject to any written law; and
    3. kept under the custody of the Secretary.
  2. Judicial notice shall be taken of the seal of the Commission and any document sealed with the seal shall be admissible in evidence.
Section 5:
Composition of the Commission
  1. The Commission shall consist of five members who shall include a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, at least one person with a disability, a youth and two women.
  2. The members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President with the approval of Parliament.
  3. Members of the Commission shall be persons of high moral character and proven integrity and possess considerable experience in, and a record of commitment to, matters relating to the promotion of equal opportunities or human rights.
Section 6:
Tenure of office of members of Commission
  1. A member of the Commission shall hold office on a full-time basis for five years and is eligible for reappointment for one more term.
  2. A member of the Commission may at any time resign his or her office in writing addressed to the President.
  3. A member of the Commission may be removed from office by the President:
    1. for inability to perform the functions of his or her office arising out of infirmity of body or mind;
    2. for misbehavior or misconduct;
    3. for incompetence;
    4. if the member is absent without prior communication to the Chairperson for more than four consecutive meetings of the Commission, or is absent from Uganda for more than twelve consecutive months;
    5. if the member is or becomes bankrupt or insolvent or enters into a composition scheme with his or her creditors; or
    6. if the member is convicted of an offence involving dishonesty, fraud or moral turpitude.
  4. A member of the Commission shall not be removed from office:
    1. under paragraph (3) (a), unless the Medical Board certifies that the person concerned is unable to perform the functions of the Commission;
    2. under paragraphs (3) (b) to (d), unless the person concerned is notified in writing and given an opportunity to defend himself or herself.
  5. Where a member is removed from office under this section, the President may appoint another person in accordance with section 5 to replace that member and the person appointed shall hold office for the remainder of the term of the member removed.
Section 7:
Oath of members of the Commission

Every member of the Commission shall, before assuming his or her duties under this Act, take and subscribe to the oath specified in the Second Schedule to this Act.

Section 8:
Remuneration and allowances of members of the Commission

Emoluments of the members of the Commission shall be prescribed by Parliament and shall be a charge on the Consolidated Fund.

Section 9:
Chairperson of the Commission
  1. The Chairperson of the Commission shall:
    1. be the head of the Commission;
    2. preside over or chair all meetings of the Commission;
    3. be responsible for the general direction of the affairs and administration of the Commission; and
    4. monitor and supervise the work of the Secretary.
  2. The Vice-Chairperson shall deputize for the Chairperson and perform such other functions as the Chairperson or the Commission may assign.
Section 10:
Members of the Commission to relinquish particular offices

A person holding any of the following offices shall relinquish that office on appointment as a member of the Commission:

  1. a member of Parliament;
  2. a member of the East African Legislative Assembly;
  3. a member of a local government council;
  4. a member of the executive of a political party or organization at all levels; or
  5. a public officer.