24 April 2012

Uganda: NRM Top Organ Blocks Term Limits Debate

Photo: UN Photo
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

The debate to reinstate term limits has suffered a big blow after the NRM Central Executive Committee (CEC) chaired by President Yoweri Museveni said there should be no Presidential term limits.

The Party's highest decision-making body warned that any member, who may wish to have the position revisited, is free to do so within the appropriate organs of the organization.

"CEC pronounced itself on the question of presidential term limits. This is to the effect that the organization has a formal position in support of the current constitution position. Any member, therefore, who takes a position contrary to that of the NRM, is engaged in an act of indiscipline, and will be dealt with appropriately," the party Secretary General Amama Mbabazi said in a statement read for him by his deputy Dorothy Huhya.

Debate on term limits picked up momentum last week at Parliament when a group of both NRM and opposition MPs launched a campaign to restore the presidential term limits. The MPs include Denis Obua (NRM), Celina Nebanda (NRM), Theodore Ssekikubo (NRM) Simon Peter Aleper (NRM), Cecilia Ogwal (FDC), Gerald Karuhanga (Independent) and others.

The legislators argued that the removal of the presidential term limits was a mistake which urgently needs to be corrected.

The MPs are spearheaded by Karuhanga who said he plans to move a motion after notifying the Speaker of his intention to do so. Reports indicate that about 56 MPs have joined the bandwagon.

Whether the matter should be brought to the House for debate, Karuhanga said he is yet to meet the Speaker of parliament and agree on when it should be put on the order paper.

Asked whether the MPs move was outside the party rules, and therefore tantamount to indiscipline, Huhya said, "Well I don't know whether the members consulted the Caucus." She was also hesitant to comment whether the MPs will be disciplined incase it's established that they acted outside the rules.

Information Minister Mary Karoro said she was not aware whether the MPs consulted any party organ. Although Karoro explained that the Party does not stop its members from discussing party issue, she said they should be done within the party organs.

Mbabazi said the committee emphasized the importance of the strict observance of discipline in the party at all levels. "To this end, in part, it was decided to fill the vacant positions in the National Disciplinary Committee, as soon as possible," Mbabazi said. Out of 9 positions, 3 are vacant.

CEC also discussed the office of the Secretary General and agreed that the election of another will be done within the provisions of the NRM Constitution.

Other issues agreed upon by the committee include the keynote address by the President on the state of the nation and the party, which will be presented to the National executive council today (Tuesday) and the secretary general's report.

According to Huhya, the Committee welcomed the improvement in the performance of the party, and the need to consolidate and strengthen it in terms of political and resource mobilization, as well as in the discipline of members.

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