Vendors and traders in downtown Kampala went on the streets Tuesday waving placards and declaring their support for President Yoweri Museveni.
The vendors who asked Museveni in their placards to stand again in 2021, say he may as well amend of articles 26 &102 of the constitution for as long as he addresses their issues.
Their peaceful demonstration came on the same day the ruling National Resistance Movement [NRM] Members of Parliament passed a motion to move a private members bill to amend presidential age limit clause.
At the forefront of the meeting was Adolf Mwesige, lawyer and politician who has served as Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs.
Igara East MP Raphael Magyezi is chief mover of the bill which once passed will allow 18 year olds to stand for president and LCV chairmanship.
The Private Members’ Bill for the removal of the Constitutional age limits will be tabled on Thursday this week.
Monica disowns group
Kumi Woman MP and the Chairperson of the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association, Monica Amoding, was the only dissenting voice in the meeting.
Amoding protested her name being included among backers of age limit removal, saying she was not aware of their plans.
“Chairperson, when you invited us here, I didn’t know the meeting was about article 102,” she pointed out.
“I believe this is a pompous discussion,” she added.
The Government chief whip, Ruth Nankabirwa, had summoned NRM MPs for caucus on Monday over the contested amendments to article 26 regarding proposed amendments to the land laws.
Amoding thought the meeting was about land reforms.
Rugunda joins crusade
Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, told The Observer in an interview that he was in support of youth campaigners for the removal of the constitutional age limit for presidential candidates.
“Yes I meet them; they are my young comrades,” the prime minister told the newspaper at parliament.
“I see nothing that provides a scientific or rational reason that somebody who is above 75 years cannot be president,” he added.
The youth campaigners are allied to NRM and the National Youth Council (NYC) structures.
They are working under a loose coalition named Kick Age Limitations out of the Constitution (KALOC) and are holding meetings with a number of top government and NRM party officials.
The group met Rugunda on August 31 at his office at the Twin Towers building, behind Parliament House.
“As a medical doctor, I have not come across any scientific research that shows that someone below 35 years or above 75 years lacks the capacity to lead. Those are unscientific barriers, leaders should be judged by their continued capacity to advance the socio-economic development,” Rugunda reportedly told the youths.
During the interview with The Observer, Rugunda defended his belief that the age limit should not bar anybody from offering themselves for the presidency, saying it gives Ugandans the freedom to elect leaders of their choice.
“A society should select or choose leaders on the basis of the challenges facing the country and leaders should be selected in response to how he [the leader] relates to the challenges and the solutions that he provides,” Rugunda said.
“The people of Uganda should, therefore, be at complete liberty to elect leaders of their choice in a free and fair election,” he added.
According to The Observer, the youth group is also working with a number of cabinet ministers, NRM secretariat leaders such as Rose Namayanja Nsereko (NRM treasurer), Richard Todwong (NRM deputy secretary general) and members of the party’s central executive committee (CEC) such as Robert Rukari (Entrepreneurs’ league).
Kassanda South MP Simeo Nsubuga, along with MPs Peter Ogwang (Usuk), Arinaitwe Rwakajara (Workers), Jacob Oboth-Oboth (West Budama South), Anita Among (Bukedea Woman), Robert Kafeero Ssekitooleko (Nakifuma) and John Bosco Lubyaayi (Mawokota South), have since September last year been quietly campaigning for the lifting of the presidential age-limit.