Politics

EXCLUSIVE: Age Limit to be Removed in 20 Days

NRM MPs and Minister meeting at Parliament voted on Tuesday  for the removal of the Presidential term Limit
NRM MPs and Minister meeting at Parliament voted for the removal of the Presidential term Limit

The architects of the plot to remove presidential age limit from the Constitution want the process to be concluded before Independence Day, 9, October.

After living in denial for exactly one year when an attempt to amend article 102 (b)  was kicked out on technicalities, Ministers and over 200 NRM MPs finally pronounced their intentions on Tuesday morning.

In September 2016, a motion being moved by Hon Kafeero Ssekitoleko to amend the same article was rejected by MPs though carefully supported by the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga.

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The Executive and NRM MPs distanced themselves from the then Ssekitoleko’s project but the public kept the debate alive until yesterday when it was openly supported.

ChimpReports has learned that the Bill for the Constitutional amendment of article 102 (b) set to be introduced by Igara County MP, Raphael Magyezi, will be handled in the shortest possible time.

A minister, who is stealthily working behind the scenes just like 7 of his other colleagues, told our reporter last night that the Bill won’t take the usual two to six months.

“We need this thing (amendment) to get out of the way as fast as possible. It should be done before Uhuru (Independence Day),” the minister, who asked not to be named, said.

According to the rules of procedure of Parliament, the relevant committee has 45 days to process the Bill but it always exceeds such a timeframe.

The champions of age limit removal, however, want the Committee of Legal Affairs to work on the Bill within one week when the Speaker refers it to their desk next week.

“The Committee should handle the thing in one week and report to the house,” he added.

Public debate 

The proposed amendments remain a contentious issue with opposition leaders vowing to put up a fight.

A snap poll conducted by ChimpReports showed 70 percent of respondents want the clause restricting presidential age limit at 75 years maintained.

27 percent supported the idea of amending the Constitution to allow Museveni seek another term while 3 percent were ‘not sure’.

Kampala lawyer Andrew Karamagi said, “The 70 percent poll result is a credible representation of the feelings around the country. Parliament and the Executive must respect that.”

Magyezi is Thursday expected to seek leave of Parliament to introduce the Bill and ChimpReports is informed he’ll return in only one week since every single detail concerning the amendment has been comprehensively dealt with.

When he returns and the first reading of the Bill is done possibly next week, the Speaker shall refer it to the Committee.

Biased

The amendment is widely perceived as a move to favor President Yoweri Museveni, who will clock the mandatory 75 years in 2019 – just two years to the presidential elections, to stand again for president.

Currently, article 102 (b) prevents anyone above 75 years from standing for president.

Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo recently said many people want President Museveni to stay around.

“Indeed the issue of age limit has been raised in various forms with many people openly urging president Museveni to stay on and complete what they deem unfinished business,” said Opondo.

The constitution was in 2005 amended to scrap the two presidential term limits clause, paving way for Museveni’s reelection in 2006, 2011 and 2016.

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