In the end, Yoweri Museveni’s top achievement since being reelected as president in 2016– amending the Uganda Constitution to be able to contest in the 2021 general election – was finalized in a “rush job” of an affair. And that was OK with him.
On Tuesday, January 02, 2018, Mr. Museveni signed into law the Constitutional Amendment Bill No. 2 of the 2017 popularly known as the age limit bill recently passed by Parliament.
The Director of Public affairs and communications Chris Obore has confirmed that the president has signed the bill into law.
Under previous laws Museveni, 73, would not be eligible to run for office again in 2021 as candidates over 75 are not allowed.
None of the members of Parliament who muscled through the biggest constitutional overhaul in 30 years were in the Rwakitura, Kiruhura District as Museveni signed the controversial bill into law. That’s because the president was not pleased with news coverage that during his End of Year Address to Ugandans questioning whether he would get the bill signed before government offices resumed serious work later in the week. So he ordered up a spur-of-the-moment signing event where he ticked through what he described as the “tremendous” accomplishments of his 31 year in office.
Museveni accused the media of being the “devil” that is holding back the continent by harbouring non-African interests. He particularly accused New Vision CEO Robert Kabushenga of using the state media to specialise in writing trivialities.
The recent constitutional amendment to lift the age limits was seen by many analysts as Museveni’s latest move to circumvent the only remaining legal barrier to what some call his ‘life-presidency’.
Museveni said he is not greedy for the presidency as some suggest because he gets no material benefits for being president of Uganda. He said his, is more of greed for sacrifice rather than greed for power.
“I heard some people talking of “greedy” politicians. Greedy for what? What material benefit do I get from being involved in government? In the last 52 years, I have either been working for no pay or for little pay. May be those people talking mean “greedy” for sacrifice,” he said.
The Bill which was passed during a dramatic three days of marathon sittings of the house plenary effectively repealed article 102b of the constitution hence removing the upper presidential age limit.
The house also voted to extend the tenure of the current parliament from five to seven years among other amendments which also include increasing the number of days within which to file and determine a presidential election petition under lO4 (2) and (3)
A private lawyer Male Mabirizi Kiwanuka has since petitioned the Constitutional Court challenging the process through which Parliament passed the controversial Bill.
However Chris Obore says the court process does not curtail the president from assenting to the law.