Former deputy police chief, Julius Odwe, has condemned moves by the ruling NRM party legislators to amend Article 102 (b) of constitution to allow President Yoweri Museveni reign for life.
Odwe, a former Deputy Inspector General of Police, in a statement on Monday that described NRM MPs and 23 ministers who support the bill that will remove the age limit for the president as “shallow-minded”.
Pro-age limit legislators claim the removal of the age limit will ensure that young people have a chance to contest for elective positions including the presidency without any limitations.
But Odwe says only 10 youths in Africa have succeeded in becoming heads of state since 1960 not through age limits but through military coups and revolutions.
They are; Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the former Libyan president who ascended to power at 27 years through a revolution in 1969; the former Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh who became president at 29 through a military coup in 1994; Joseph Kabila, the incumbent president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Valentine Strasser of Sierra Leone and Michael Micombero who became Burundian President at 26 after declaring an end to the Monarchy and the Kingdom of Burundi in 1966.
“Uganda is faced with serious problems, which require urgent attention other than scrapping the presidential age limit and the compulsory land acquisition by government, which government has decided to dwell on,” Odwe explained.
He said the increasing anxiety of Ugandans on the transition of power and Museveni’s succession, fear of the weak stewardship in the public sector, famine, poverty and injustices should be at the forefront in parliament not the constitutional amendments.
On police targeting opposition members and those opposed to the proposed scraping of the presidential age limit, Odwe said such conduct is treasonable since they are meant to frustrate the efforts of Ugandans to defend the constitution.
“Article 1, 2 and 3 of the 1995 constitution clearly spells out that all power belongs to the citizen,” he recalled, advising the police and the executive to be mindful of Article 3 of the constitution, which says all citizens shall have the right and duty at all times to defend the constitution.
He advised President Museveni to save Ugandans from the most embarrassing failure to peacefully hand over power when his term expires in 2021.