UPC’s Otunnu, Akena roundly denounce life presidency

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Jimmy Akena and Mr Olara Otunnu at UPC

The former and current presidents of Uganda People’s Congress [UPC] party have condemned the move to scrap the presidential age limit from the constitution allow President Museveni reign for life.

Olara Otunnu, a former diplomat, lawyer and party’s candidate in the 2011 presidential election, said now is the time for Ugandans to say enough is enough.

This was during a chit-chat with Shawn Mubiru, a blogger and Communications Associate at Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies [GLISS], a non-governmental organisation.

“This is the right time where all young Ugandans must stand up to their future,” Ambassador Otunnu told Mubiru during their lunch out.

Museveni’s Senior Press Secretary, Don Wanyama, even accused Otunnu of hatching a plot to cause mayhem in the country.

He claimed Otunnu met opposition leaders including Democratic Party president Norbert Mao, Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Winnie Kiiza, and FDC party presidential candidate Mugisha Muntu.

The meeting allegedly took place at City Blue Restaurant, Nakasero where they reportedly “planned mayhem” on Tuesday.

In April this year, Otunnu was cleared of defaming the President by Buganda Road court grade one magistrate Joan Aciro.

Prosecution had stated that on the 16th/ January 2013 during one of his UPC party weekly press conference at Uganda House in Kampala, Otunu attacked president Museveni’s regime referring to it as one full of political assassinations, words that were calculated to defame the person of president Museveni.

Akena denounces age limit

In the same vigour, the current UPC president Akena told his party legislators not to vote the motion when it comes to parliament.

“I don’t support the lifting of the presidential age limits. My answer is no,” Akena is quoted by Uganda Radio Network [URN] as saying.

He added: “I urge all UPC members with a vote in parliament to vote no.”

The six UPC leaning members in the 10th parliament include; Maxwell Patrick Akora Ebong, the Apac County, Jonathan Odur, Erute County South, Jimmy Akena, Lira Municipality, Joy Ongom Atim, Lira Woman Representative, Betty Ongom Amongi, the Oyam County and Santa Alum Ogwang, Oyam Woman Representative.

Akena said as UPC, they don’t support the removal of the presidential age limit because Uganda doesn’t belong to Museveni.

“Uganda did not start with Museveni. There was Uganda before Museveni and it will be there after Museveni,” he told press at Uganda House in Kampala.

Akena who has been accused of selling UPC to the ruling party, says the desire to lift the age limit shows NRM cannot survive without Museveni.

Meanwhile, NRM party legislators supporting the lifting of the presidential age limits say they will consult widely with their constituents before taking a decision.

If the voters don’t support it, the legislators argue, they too will abandon the proposal.

According to Kinkinzi West MP James Kaberuka, all leaders will be held accountable for their actions, and what some NRM members have resorted to is a consultation with their electorates.

He says he will not support anything as long as his electorates do not approve of it.

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