NRM MPs resolve to move bill scrapping age limit

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Igara East MP Raphael Magyezi is chief mover [Photos credit: Sadab Kitatta/The Observer]

The ruling National Resistance Movement [NRM] Members of Parliament have Tuesday passed a motion to move a private members bill to amend presidential age limit clause.

The ruling party legislators met at Parliament to launch the road-map to abolish the presidential age limit clause from the Ugandan constitution.

At the forefront of the meeting is 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.

In August this year, NRM party members gathered at Kati Kati Restaurant and resolved to embark on countrywide campaign to promote the proposal to remove the presidential age limit.

Adolf Mwesige is leading the MPs

The meeting coordinated by presidential advisor David Mafabi, brought together NRM youth leaders, academicians and MPs, resolved that the NRM party should remove the age limit to allow President Yoweri Museveni continue leading the country beyond 2021.

MPs Simeo Nsubuga of Kassanda South and Col. Fred Mwesigye of Nyabushozi County assured the congregation that as certain as day follows night the age limit will be lifted to allow Museveni aged 72, contest for presidency again in 2021.

Army MPs back age limit removal

In its report this week, The Observer, listed a number of army representatives in parliament, including three generals, who had joined their mobilisation effort.

The UPDF is represented by 10 MPs, including Gen Katumba Wamala, Gen Elly Tumwine, Lt Gen Ivan Koreta, Maj Gen Pecos Kutesa, Col Francis Takirwa Muheekyera and Col George Innocent Oula.

Others are Col Felix Kulayigye, Capt Susan Lakot Oruni, Lt Col Flavia Byekwaso and Capt Evelyn Asiimwe Buregyeya.

Gen Elly Tumwine: “I have not been part of any meetings and I don’t want to be involved in unnecessary propaganda. I have not made any statement about it.”

Col George Innocent Oula: “I am apolitical because I am a serving military officer. Our work in Parliament is not to take sides.”

NRM MPs meeting at parliament on Tuesday

Capt Lakot Susan Oruni: “I have been out of the country… Yes, if the bill came to parliament, I will support it for the continuity and betterment of our country. We have had no wars for the last 30 years. We have seen developments, and a case in point is northern Uganda. We had never seen a tarmac road but now we have tarmac roads everywhere.

Maj Gen Pecos Kutesa: “I represent the UPDF; so, I don’t go to Kyankwanzi [NRM retreats] or Kasangati [Besigye’s home] for briefings. I am above party politics.”

Col Felix Kulayigye, a former UPDF and Defence spokesman: “I am a military officer. I don’t take sides. I will go by what Ugandans will decide. Once [the bill] comes to the floor of the house, I will make my position known.”

Lt Gen Ivan Koreta: “I don’t have authority to agitate for anything.”

Capt Flavia Byekwaso: “I am a soldier. For me, I am more concerned about the [UPDF] Act, which doesn’t set any age limitations. That is why we have generals who are above 80. Those others, I don’t know.”

Capt Evelyn Asiimwe Buregyeya: “I have no problem with [the call] to remove the age limit. You know change is good but it should be a change for the better. But when I look at the people in the queue, this one [Museveni] is better. And when you look at the 75-year age limit, it should not be used as a determinant [because] to me, Museveni is more sober than the young people.”

“They are answerable to the high command [so] there is no way you can expect them to support what is not in the interest of their boss,” Kakooza told the newspaper.

When the 1995 constitution was first amended in 2005, two army MPs got themselves in trouble for opposing the proposed removal of presidential term limits.

Col Fred Bogere abstained during a vote on the floor of parliament supported by all army MPs, including Army Commander Aronda Nyakayirima.

Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde, then a brigadier, ended up in jail, accused of spreading harmful propaganda and behaving in a conduct prejudicial to good conduct and discipline of the army, when he criticised the removal of presidential term limit during a radio talk show.

Additional reporting by The Observer