Chris Baryomunsi, the State Minister for Housing, says he pities those crying over the age limit or no age limit for President Museveni which has caused a lot of anxiety in the country.
A section of legislators are demanding for a referendum on the proposed constitutional amendment to lift the age limit for persons seeking to contest for the presidency.
The demand comes at the backdrop of reports a section of National Resistance Movement – NRM legislators have mooted a plan to amend the constitution to allow Museveni to contest for the presidency in 2021 and that the constitutional amendment bill on the same has already been gazetted.
Baryomunsi, who just returned from Victoria Falls, in the Western part of Zimbabwe where he had been for a week on official duties, says he received a phone call from a young man from Sironko.
“…that he was seeing me receiving money in order to vote for changing the constitutional provision. I just laughed and felt pity for the young man,” the minister says.
“To the best of my knowledge, this so called bill has not been tabled anywhere. What was reported to be in the gazette must be the proposal to amend article 26 of the constitution on compulsory acquisition of land.”
Baryomunsi says least, this has been discussed by Cabinet. Bills or amendment bills are gazetted only after approval by Cabinet.
It is important to note that there is nothing that stops introduction of such a bill in Cabinet and Parliament, he said, adding, Uganda constitution clearly stipulates the procedure of how the various provisions can be amended.
“Several individuals have been calling and others hitting my inbox in the same issue; some in support and others strongly unsupportive. My response has been that their reactions are merely speculative and premature as of now.”
“My take is that if this proposal comes,” Baryomunsi said, adding, “I will carry out extensive and intensive consultations among my constituents and determine what the majority have to say.”
He adds: “I will then take that position to Parliament. This is because such a matter will definitely be contentious.”
He said government will soon announce a constitutional review commission and it is possible some Ugandans may submit and suggest that the age limit provision be amended.
“So in such a case, should they be ignored? Nonetheless, Ugandans should stay calm and accommodate each other’s’ views.”
Under the current provision in article 102(b) of the 1995 constitution, President Museveni would not be eligible to contest for the seat.
Born in 1944 and in power since 1986, Museveni will hit the limit before the next presidential election.
Article 102(b) states that a person is qualified for election as President if that person is not less than 35 years and not more than 75 years. President Museveni will be 73 this year and 77 in 2021.