Besigye, Otafiire clash on TV over age limit

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Charles Odongtho, Miria Matembe, Kizza Besigye, Kahinda Otafiire, Norbert Mao and Ofwono Opondo appearing on NBS TV Frontline programme

Thursday night saw one of the hottest live television debates so far with opposition strongman, Kizza Besigye, taking on Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Kahinda Otafiire, the chief proponent of the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2017.

NBS “Frontline” programme host, Charles Odongtho, started off the show by asking Otafiire why he was ‘baptised’ at the Namboole stadium meeting held by local government leaders.

“You can take a man out of the bush but you can’t take a bush out of a man. Since I never delivered the message, I will leave the message to the sender,” Otafiire tried to dodge the questions.

“The evidence would have been in allowing me in exposing myself at Namboole. Now that you didn’t allow me to expose myself, why are you according me of advocating for age limit?” he added.

Besigye who was appearing on the same show said he certainly felt for Otafiire after such an embarrassing incident in which leaders accused the minister of trying to preach the removal of the age limit clause and hit him with water bottles in return.

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“The pictures are telling more than what Otafiire is telling us. There are many scenes where people were saying they were not interested in Otafiire and his age limit,” Besigye said.

The former presidential candidate quickly pointed out that Otafiire has now become a messenger of bad news, “the age limit is bad news”.

“Maybe the hostility wasn’t that they hadn’t seen Museveni but what they had seen.”

Otafiire quickly went on the defensive: “Besigye says I’m an agent of bad news (age limit) but I want him to cite an incidence where I advocated for age limit.”

He added: “Whether I have a view or not, I’m a minister who is in charge of this process.”

Besigye then reminded Otafiire that it is not an issue of mere politics since many people died because of mismanagement of Uganda’s politics over the years.

“It’s sad that a person like Otafiire who jumped dead bodies is playing politics; he was even like a stick but now he’s fat.”

He added: “Its painful sitting next to my comrade and freedom fighter Otafiire who at his mature age says he is just president Museveni’s loudspeaker.”

Otafiire then went soft: “I would like to bare an insult that I’m Museveni’s loudspeaker. I was appointed by Museveni and I don’t represent people of Ankole.”

Ignoring the remark, Besigye said people must stand up to struggle and subordinate the guns.

According to him, Biology is of the essence, no one can’t run away from it.

“Even the Bible says after 80 years, its pain and suffering. Ideology also evolves, President Museveni’s ideology is of ages ago.”

Still dissatisfied that he was not well absolved of Namboole “crimes”, Otafiire clarified: “My constituency is State House. I represent nobody except the President.”

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