Makerere University law Professor, Fredrick E. Ssempebwa, has reminded President Yoweri Museveni and the likes of Kampala minister, Beti Kamya, that no one is too special to stay in power forever.
Ssempebwa was a member of the 1995 Constitutional Commission which helped draft the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and the Chairperson of the Uganda Constitutional Review Commission which was charged with reviewing the same Constitution six (6) years later.
He said while drafting the 1995 constitution, they capped the presidential age limit at 75 years, arguing that by 75, someone’s alertness has reduced and they are not as active as they used to be.
“We zeroed on 75,” Ssempebwa said while appearing on NBS “Morning Breeze” programme Wednesday.
“Most of our MPs do not intend to sleep off while in Parliament. However it is because they are tired.”
Members of the NRM argue that their candidate is still strong enough to serve as president but Ssempebwa argues that is whatever they have to say, he does not support the idea of life governance “because I think that no one is special to rule forever”.
While there are people campaigning for the president to stay in power even before he publicly speaks about the matter, Ssempebwa believes there is an unseen element of selfishness especially from among the people around him.
Asked on whether Museveni will stand again in 2021, Ssempebwa said he doesn’t believe the president will “but you can never tell with Museveni”.
“Museveni has not spoken once about the matter. We have only seen the likes of Hon. Betty Kamya say he is still strong.”
According to the professor, it shouldn’t be forgotten that President Museveni likes speaking towards the end, so there is a possibility.
“In all matters regarding the constitution, I hope that people’s rights of freedom of speech, association and gathering are respected.”
He said the issue of term limits was taken up mainly but wasn’t even a part of the major terms of reference during the drafting of the constitution.
“The situation we have now is based on the power of incumbency. If we had term limits, this would not be happening.”
He said they made suggestions and amendments with legislature as well as a number of recommendation in the constitution review commission but only a few were taken up by Parliament.
Professor Ssempebwa has practiced law both within and outside the courtrooms with distinction for nearly fifty (50) years and he is a leading consultant in several areas of practice in Uganda.
He was a member of the Committee of Experts charged with advising on the amendment of the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya, was enlisted to advise on the Constitution drafting exercise for the Republic of South Sudan.