NRM in final steps to scrap presidential age limit

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The ruling National Resistance Movement [NRM] is still determined to scrap the presidential age limit and allow President Yoweri Museveni contest in 2021 elections.

According to The Uganda Gazette dated June 8, 2017 quoted by The Observer, the Constitution (Amendment) Bill which contains a clause to remove the presidential age limit, will be officially gazetted.

The Uganda Gazette is the official newspaper of government.

Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, the minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, told the bi-weekly newspaper that the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2017 awaits to be published in The Uganda Gazette before it can come to parliament for debate.

“Once the bill has been gazetted, a Constitutional Review Commission shall be appointed and it will gather views from the people,” Otafiire is quoted as saying.

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He cited article 102 of the constitution which specifies qualifications for one to be a president, saying this will be amended.

Article 102 (b) states that a person is not qualified for election as president of Uganda if he or she is less than thirty-five years and or more than seventy-five years of age.

“What is so special about Article 102? Is it a commandment from God? If the public wants the age-limit amended, it will be amended. If they don’t want, we shall leave it,” Observer quotes Otafiire arguing.

Credit The Observer

Museveni is 73 years old this and will be 76 by 2021.

The ruling party started its moves to amend the constitution in 2016 championed by the Kyankwanzi district leadership led by Woman MP Ann Maria Nankabirwa and later Robert Kafeero Ssekitooleko.

Yet Museveni told Al Jazeera this year that he would never amend the constitution unless Ugandans willed it.

He dismissed speculation that he will try to change that limit to extend his term. “I cannot change the constitution because I do not have the power.”

He defended the length of his rule. “Have you heard of something called democracy?” he asked Vall.

“Democracy means you elect the people you like. We had elections about one year ago. My party got 62% of the vote. In fact, it would have been more if it had not been for quite a lot of spoilt votes. So that does not show that the people of Uganda are fed up with our party, because they have voted for us five times, winning free competition… My party has been winning. Is that an offence to win elections? What are you worried about?”

Similarly, Museveni denied he would go down in history as a dictator.

“A dictator who is elected five times? That must be a wonderful dictator.”

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