Brown envelopes: NRM touches article 77 to give MPs 9 years in parliament

Arua Municipality lawmaker, Ibrahim Abiriga

A strange development came up on Tuesday while members of the ruling National Resistance Movement [NRM] parliamentary caucus met at the Office of the Prime Minister with President Museveni.

After the meeting, reports started circulating indicating that the ruling party had discussed a possibility of extending the tenure of the current Parliament for nine [9] uninterrupted years.

The NRM caucus meeting agreed, according to a source who attended, to explore the possibility of invoking Article 77 which gives Parliament powers to determine their tenure.

Article 77 suggests an extension of tenure only in cases of a war or a state of emergency.

It states that Parliament can only do this under a state of war or state of emergency that prevents elections but still stipulates at least six months and not more.

It was Arua Municipality MP, Ibrahim Abiriga, who proposed a two years’ extension on their current term of office for legislators, a move supported by President Museveni.

According to Abiriga, the current five years are not adequate for an elected leader to implement his/her programmes, pledges or projects.

He also argued that most legislators are use a lot of money during campaigns and thus spend the five-year term servicing loans.

Museveni agreed with him that a five-year term for the presidency too was very short and he could not achieve all his objectives in that time.

“For these countries with all these problems, two terms of five years is just a joke. It would give some time to these young countries to develop. France has seven-year terms, I do not see what they have lost,” Museveni said in defence of Abiriga’s suggestion.

NRM party chief whip, Ruth Nankabirwa, said Abiriga’s suggestion became a “very popular move and I could not stand in its way”.

“So we discussed it and even consulted the chairman of the party (Museveni) and he repeated the views he gave the legal committee,” she said, adding that the party resolved to set up a committee to handle legalities and harmonise positions on the possibilities of having the Bill.

Some members on the committee include; Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana, Defence Minister Adolf Mwesige, Security Minister Henry Tumukunde and Planning Minister David Bahati, among others.

Brown envelopes for a yes vote

Later in the night, other reports made rounds saying NRM MPs were being given brown envelopes somewhere near Kololo airstrip this night, to vote a yes in the age limit debate.

The party also blocks five MPs from leaving the country after two ministers and Busiro South MP Peter Ssematimba who were told #Togikwatako by their voters, decided to go abroad.

The MPs NRM blocked were allegedly being facilitated by to NGOs to miss the voting session, according to caucus spokesperson, MP Margaret Muhanga.

Article 262 of the constitution requires two thirds of all MPs to vote for a bill to pass through meaning any absentee will affect the NRM vote.