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Kisoro Leaders Walk Out on Minister Mateke Over Age Limit

Dr Philemon Mateke

State minister for regional cooperation Dr Philemon Mateke had it rough on the weekend with local leaders in the south western Kisoro district, who got upset with him for trying to pitch for a constitutional amendment bill during a meeting he had called for other purposes.

Dr Mateke, one of Kisoro’s most influential politicians on Saturday   called and chaired a meeting to discuss and consult local leaders on a number of issues concerning mostly good governance and service delivery in the district.

The meeting convened at the district council hall in Kosoro town and was well attended by local council and NRM leaders.

The meeting however, flipped on its head when the minister introduced the topic of amending Article 102(b) to lift the constitutional age limit on presidential candidates.

The minister told the meeting that Uganda still needs President Yoweri Museveni who he said, will not be easy to replace.

Some attendants were unhappy with the minister and the started heckling him, before a section of them walked out one by one in protest.

Mateke tried to restore calm but failed and he was forced to abruptly call off the meeting.

Dr Mateke who served formally as the district chairman is revered by majority of the people of Kisoro – one of NRM’s greatest strongholds.

The NRM and President Yoweri Museveni always win overwhelmingly in the district, where there is even a saying that they vote ijana ku’ijana, which means 100% for the ruling party.

The topic of age limit amendment however has been one of the most divisive in the south western Kisoro sub region of late, which partly explains why some of the area’s most vocal MPs have been relatively silent on the issue.

In Kisoro, MPs like Sam Bitangaro and Dr James Nsaba Buturo, who in the past lost elections for sticking to unpopular policies, have been apparently treading carefully about the age limit issue.

So far in the district, MP John Kamara of Bufumbira North has openly expressed support for the amendment.

But Rose Kabagyenyi (district woman MP) and Sam Byebesiho (Kisoro municipality) have also kept a low profile on the amendment of article 102(b).

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