NRM leaders have resolved to push for consultations on amending the Constitution to lift presidential age limit to enable those beyond 75 years or below 35 years to contest for the highest political office in the land.
The move is being interpreted as a launch pad of a countrywide mobilization plan to have the age limit removed.
Opposition leaders have previously warned of a “protracted political battle” should the NRM proceed with plans to amend the Constitution to allow President Museveni contest for another term in office.
Addressing the media at Kati Kati in Kampala on Tuesday, NRM leaders led by Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs David Mafabi, said they had resolved that “the leadership of the NRM urgently initiates wide consultation of its membership to determine whether or not any Ugandan who is 18 years and above, should be disqualified from being President of the Republic of Uganda.”
They also want consultations on “Whether or not term limits should be simultaneously restored; Whether or not a second Chamber of Parliament should be created.”
The NRM supporters said their resolutions followed “deep” and “cordial discussion on issues of Constitutional Amendment in Uganda;.”
They said NRM being a national liberation movement has a historical mission to transform Ugandan from a peasant to a modern society.
They said issues of national importance such as the land rights under Article 26 of the Uganda Constitution and the age of persons qualified to contest for President of Uganda as provided in Article 102 (b) of the Uganda constitution have caused a lot of debate in the public.
The leaders also emphasised that some members of the opposition are addressing the debate on the issues of national importance by “use of unlawful acts that include blackmail, intimidation and physical harassment of the elected leaders especially the Members of Parliament.”
They further accused members of the Opposition of “spreading propaganda detrimental to our party (NRM) and the country and peddling outright lies.”
The ruling party officials said it was their duty to “fight propaganda detrimental to the interests of NRM (Article 9 (2)(d) ), explain the achievements of NRM to the population (Article 9(2)(c)) and exercise the right to submit proposals or statements to the National Conference or National Executive Council (NEC) of the NRM (Article 9(1)(f)).”
A recent snap poll conducted by ChimpReports showed 70 percent of respondents wanted 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’.
It will be recalled that 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.
A former government official, who preferred anonymity so to speak freely, said “Every article can be amended as long as it’s done constitutionality. Even Article 1 of the Constitution says all power belongs to the people.”
The retired officer said the constitution as it stands currently, unfairly discriminates against the youths and the elderly.
“You know being a youth stops at 35. Why are youth not seeking an amendment to the constitution to allow a 25-year-old to contest for President?” wondered the officer who served the country in sensitive positions.
But city lawyer and researcher, Andrew Karamagi argues Museveni should respect the fact that he is “ineligible to run for office again” and should begin to prepare to “retire” in a “dignified manner.”