Opposition legislators who had earlier walked out of parliament amid controversy on a report from consultations on a proposal to lift the cap on the presidential age has now called for its ejection.
Opposition and campaigners are opposed to the bill, arguing that the move by the ruling NRM is intended to allow incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, now 73, to run in the 2021 elections when he will be over 75.
The calls to eject the bill came after the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee chairperson Jacob Oboth-Oboth went ahead and presented a report of the committee arising out of consultations conducted over the last three months. The report endorsed a proposal in the private member’s bill by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi to lift the presidential age from the current 75-years limit.
Hon. Monica Amoding while presenting the Minority report said: “Some proponents of the Age Limit removal premise their argument of the fact that Uganda still needs President Museveni. This is evident in the several memoranda presented to the Committee.”
“Equal Opportunities Commission argued that age is not an element enshrined in Article 21 that describes what amounts to discriminations,” she continued.
“The Uganda Law Reform Commission opposed the amendment of Article 102 (b) as it hinges on other provisions that have age limits like Article 144(l) and other provisions relating to public servants.”
She also said that Dr. Mwambutsya Ndebesa opined that the proposed amendment of article 102(b) is likely to cause constitutional and political instability. That the removal of age limits promotes the strongman phenomena that slaws the growth and development
The argument that the issue of age limit removal is a political question to be resolved by the Parliament ought to consider that power emanates from the people who should be consulted and that’s the only way of putting in effect the spirit of Article 1
The minority members are of the opinion that repealing 102b at the moment is very dangerous as it is being done for only one possible beneficiary, the current president
“Some proponents of the bill have argued that the continuity of Article 102b will threaten peace and tranquility both within Uganda, EA & Africa. The minority rejects that opinion as blackmail whose effect is the destruction of institutions and institutionalized individuals”
We reject the Bill as presented for the reasons aforesaid and others hereunder. We believe the bill was not brought in good faith and is intended to undermine the democratic path of the country.
Prior to the walkout, opposition legislators had pleaded with Kadaga to rescind her earlier decision to suspend six legislators, accused of causing chaos in Parliament. The suspended MPs are Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, Allan Ssewanyana, Gerald Karuhanga, Jonathan Odur, Akol Anthony and Mubarak Munyangwa.
“You suspended the members after you had suspended the sitting. May I request that you rescind your decision and have these members back and possibly suspend them officially in a proper manner,” Kiiza said.She was immediately challenged by Information Minister Frank Tumwebaze who said that if Kiiza wanted to challenge the decision of the Speaker, she had to do that through a motion.
Kadaga also maintained that the MPs will remain suspended since they had violated the rules yet she had warned them before.
“It is a pity that an officer of parliament who is the Leader of Opposition is the one promoting disorder,” Kadaga stated.
Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal also made an effort to convince the Speaker to allow the six MPs come back and represent their constituencies considering that the matter under discussion was very key. But Kadaga said that Ogwal, as a senior member of parliament knew the implication of acting contrary to the rules.
The committee report recommended that the presidential age limit be lifted while the minority report also presented before Parliament said it should stay.
In September this year, there was a brawl in Parliament between the ruling National Resistance Movement party and the opposition when the motion to lift the presidential age limit was tabled.
Speaker Kadaga adjourned the House to tomorrow over poor working microphones