On media reports attributed to him about the performance of leaders above the age of 75, President Museveni said politics is about ideology and service and not sport where one needed to compete physically.
“Politics is not Olympics or Rugby where you need to compete physically. The Presidency is a guiding role,” he said.
He was meeting the committee scrutinising the private members Bill, presented to Parliament by Hon. Raphael Magyezi, which seeks to scrap the 35 and 75-year lower and upper age limits for candidates seeking the Presidency.
On whether the country should remove age limit and reinstate term limits, the President said at this stage of development, limits were not the most important issue for Uganda because the country has more pressing concerns.
“It took America more than a century and half while developing their economy and political class to put Presidential term limits in their constitution. When they finally did so in 1947, everything they wanted had happened. They had developed, the colonies had integrated,” he said.
“But here; what has happened? In Africa you behave like we are running countries and yet we are creating countries.”
After taking the MPs through an elaborate history of the American War of Independence, formation of Modern Day America, Collapse of Capitalism in 1929 through the Great Depression and the final introduction of Presidential term limits in 1947, President Museveni warned Africans against aping everything from the West while ignoring their local conditions and realities.
On the proposal to increase the years of term of office from five to seven years, the President said the leaders in Africa have much more to do and need adequate time to develop the continent and saw no harm in having longer terms.
“For these countries with all these problems, two terms of five years is just a joke. Those who talk about this, are just looking at improving their CVs. We might not discuss it now but there is merit at looking at the seven years. It would give some time to these young countries to develop. France has seven-year terms, I do not see what they have lost,” said the President.
The President also dismissed the notion that the amendment was tailored to benefit him, pointing out that removal of the 35-year minimum for Presidential candidates, would instead give room to more young people who had been locked out to have a chance to run for the Presidency.
The MPs, through Hon. Robinah Rwakoojo, the Committee’s Deputy Chairperson, thanked President Museveni for according them audience, and indicated they would do a good job writing a report that captures all views picked from those they interfaced with.