Opposition Democratic Party President Norbert Mao on Thursday launched a campaign dubbed K’ogikwatako, meant to encourage Ugandans to oppose efforts to amend Article 102 of Uganda’s Constitution.
The launch of the campaign was however foiled by police as DP President Norbert Mao and a group of party leaders marched towards the Constitutional Square.
These were arrested and detained at Kampala CPS.
Earlier while addressing press at the party offices, Mao said removing the clause that limits people above 75 years from running for president, would be detrimental to Uganda’s budding democracy.
Mao went on to list 11 reasons why Ugandans should stand firm against the amendment, as follows;
- The presidency is not a career. The age limit keeps fresh ideas and new points of view in the vicinity of public office; it ensures that no individual can focus more on keeping the job than public service.
- It will enhance the prestige of the Office of the President and restore its nobility as an office to serve the people and not a job.
- Age limit controls graft. Long serving incumbents tend to focus more on simply getting re-elected rather than doing the right thing for the people.
- Age limit clears the ballot after a certain period and allows a new group of potential candidates to make themselves known and vie for office. In the absence of age limit, many talented potential leaders will simply not contest because of the challenges and risk of facing a well –entrenched incumbent.
- The argument that the nation benefits from the experience of a perennial ruler is bogus. New leaders can benefit from the experience of retired long serving civil servants. This insulates the state against the fear that new comers lack the experience accumulated by the incumbent who has to leave.
- It limits chances of state capture by powerful moneyed groups. Government is supposed to serve the public but with time along serving incumbents bent on being re- elected perpetually becomes captives of the financial oligarchy and start to serve their interest rather than the public interest.
- Democracy is about limiting power of individuals for the greater good. The age limit will build and prepare potential leaders and establish the fundamentals of public service and democracy as opposed to individuals as a cornerstone of our society. It builds institutions and prepares leaders.
- Scientifically, aged leaders can simply become fatigued and less energized but the public may not see what’s happening because an incumbent has money, name, recognition and influence to continue being re-elected and citizens only realize much later that a leader has become less effective over time and has lost touch .
- Fresh air. Age limit creates opportunities for new fresh faces. Long serving and entrenched incumbents deter opponents who see the virtual futility of mounting a challenge against an incumbent. The re-election of an incumbent should be because they have done a good job not because others don’t have the financial muscle.
- Age limit will end the era of indefinite presidencies. Only the age limit will remove the fear that there will never be a predetermined end to a single person’s ability to rule for life.
- Age limit will facilitate peaceful and constitutional transition of power. All Ugandans yearn for change without bloodshed the age limit is the last remaining bulwark against the ever present temptation to resort to unconstitutional means to bring about change.