Age Limit: Teso MPs Want Presidential Age Limit Put to Referendum – ChimpReports
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Age Limit: Teso MPs Want Presidential Age Limit Put to Referendum

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MP Ariko speaking at a recent function in Teso

A section of legislators from Teso sub-region have asked the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga not to allow a discussion on the Constitutional Amendment of the Presidential Term Limits, Chimp Corps report.

They said this was a sensitive matter that needed to be decided by a referendum.

The MPs include NRM’s Patrick Okabe (Serere County), Viola Akurut (Katakwi Woman MP), David Abala (Ngora County), UPC’s Julius Ochen (Kapelebyong County), Kenneth Esiangu (Soroti County) and FDC’s Herbert Edmund Ariko (Soroti Municipality).

Hon Ariko said the amendment seeks to favour those in power not the country at large.

“The Speaker as the head of Parliament business has to guide the house on the proposed amendment once tabled and I pray she adjusts and puts the matter to a national referendum,” said Ariko said.

“I hear that Shs 350m has been put aside for each MP who accepts removal of age limits. I will not take it and promise to stand with the people,” said the lawmaker.

Debate on the lifting of term limits to allow Museveni serve another term as president has been raging in Uganda in the last few weeks.

The NRM party leader will clock 75 years in 2019, just two years before the national elections.

Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo said the recent publication of a notice in the Uganda Gazette to enable President Museveni appoint a constitutional review commission was being “vulgarized” and that “the opposition could lose debate aimed at revamping the Constitution.”

He further said “Ugandans should also watch out for scavengers looking for soft money as they raise the stakes.”

Opondo also stated that “cabinet has not debated, let alone decided on any specific matters relating to which provisions should or ought to be amended.”

Interestingly, Opondo adds: “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.”

The ruling party’s opponents have since criticized Museveni for the limpness in government which continues to undermine public service delivery.

In an interview with NTV a few years ago, Museveni said he would not seek another term in office after clocking 75 years.

“I know some leaders who have been leading even beyond after 75.  But I think if you want very active leaders it should be the ones below 75 years,” suggested Museveni, adding, “But I think after 75, the vigor; I think there is some scientific idea there. That may be the vigor is not as much after 75 years.”

MP Ochen told ChimpReports he won’t be pleased if the matter of the Presidential Age limit is left for only MPs to decide for the country.

Ochen expressed willingness to support the interest of the local people but not for the few brains in Parliament.

“I believe you also know NRM has majority members in Parliament and what they decide using their numbers will definitely be passed. So leaving the matter to only MPs is unacceptable.”

NRM’s Patrick Okabe who also doubles as chairperson Teso Parliamentary Group (TPG) said MPs alone cannot decide on the age limit without voters being involved.

The MP said he had received hundreds of calls from his voters urging him not to accept the removal of Presidential Age limit.

Other NRM MPs including Akurut, Abala and Independent Esiangu also called on the speaker of Parliament to use her powers well to avoid bloodshed in future.

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But the controversial Kanyum County MP Ismail Orot disagreed with other MPs in the region.

He said putting the amendment to a referendum would be a waste of time and the country’s resources.

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