Written by URN (The Observer)
The ruling party, National Resistance Movement (NRM) legislators have launched a bid for the remove presidential age limits from the Constitution.
During a party caucus consultative meeting held today at Parliament’s Conference Hall, 245 MPs agreed to table a private members bill in parliament seeking to amend Article 102(b) of the 1995 Constitution.
Kumi Woman MP, Monica Amoding was the only dissenting voice as her colleagues overwhelmingly endorsed the proposal tabled by Kyaka South MP Jackson Rwakafuzi.
The MPs resolved in the next one week to seek leave of parliament to present the private members bill.
Igara East MP Raphael Magyezi, who was mandated by MPs to spearhead the consultation process, states that the legislators resolved that Article 102(b) be amended without any influence, adding that they consulted with their people.
Magezi says people should be allowed to stand for office and should not be limited by their age.
The MPs also want the same qualifications to apply for the vice president. They however maintain that one has to be at least 35 years to stand for district local council chairperson.
MP Amoding, the lone voice against the proposal, said she was invited for a consultative meeting and was not aware of the fact that it was meant to resolve the age limit debate. She says she cannot be a part of what her constituents have not agreed with.
Adolf Mwesige, the minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, says Article 102(b) contradicts the constitution on issues of equality and democracy. He says power belongs to the people and whether one is old or not, the people have the power to eject or elect them.
Arinaitwe Rwakajara, the Workers MP stated that although they did not consult the president on the matter, the proposed amendment is meant for the good of Uganda and democracy.
Article 102(b) sets 35 and 75 as minimum and maximum age respectively for a person contesting for or holding the Office of the President. If left as it is, President Yoweri Museveni would not quality to contest in 2021, as he will be above 75 years of age.
Born in 1944 and in power since 1986, Museveni will turn 75 in 2019. This is the first time that government-leaning MPs have officially come up with a position on the matter, though majority have been promoting it individually.
The move evokes memories of 12 years ago when the 7th Parliament voted, on September 30, to amend Article 105 of the Constitution to remove the two-term limit for the president.
There has been debate in Uganda on the possibility of NRM using its numbers in parliament to push for the removal of age limits to allow President Museveni stay on.
Opposition groups such as the Democratic Party leadership launched a campaign code-named “K’ogikwatako, literally meaning ‘Dare Touch It’, warning government not to tamper with Article 102(b).
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