19 June 2017

Uganda: Opposition MPs Task Voters On Age Limit

Photo: The Observer
Leader of Opposition Winnie Kiiza (C) with President Museveni (R) recently.

The opposition in parliament last week tasked voters to warn their MPs against supporting the proposal to retain President Museveni in power after he clocks 75 years of age.

The warning came amidst reports that some NRM MPs intend to table a proposal for the amendment of the presidential age limit at a retreat in Kyankwanzi due next month.

Addressing a news conference at parliament, the opposition members argued that the age limit is the only safety measure left in the Constitution after the 7th parliament lifted the cap on presidential term limits.

Winfred Kiiza, the leader of opposition in parliament, said it is the duty of all Ugandans to preach the danger in doing away with the clause on agelimit from the Constitution.

"Ugandans look at the age limit as the only safety valve that we are remaining with. For us in the opposition, we are saying that as we go for the Constitution review we should even look at the aspects of bringing back the term limits," Kiiza said.

She said for anybody to imagine that they will lift the age limit, they are playing with fire.

"I tell Ugandans to stop your legislators. It is a matter which is touching not only the opposition but all Ugandans," she said.

Some NRM and opposition MPs have already expressed determination to oppose this move, if it comes on the floor. In September last year, parliament indefinitely deferred a motion by Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleko, the Nakifuma MP, seeking to amend the Constitution to increase the retirement age for judges, and also remove term limits for commissioners of the Electoral Commission (EC).

Government said it will bring an omnibus bill to handle all constitutional amendments all at once. Kiiza, flanked by other opposition MPs Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala) and Mary Babirye Kabanda (Masaka woman), said they would pressurize government to have the Constitution amendments tabled for debate as soon as the session of parliament commences this week.

"As we begin the new session that is one [constitution amendments] of the issues we are going to be preoccupied with. The issue of ensuring electoral reforms should be made early enough before we go into campaigns. We want it to be made together with the one of the presidential age limit," Kiiza said.

She said they still have belief that President Museveni shall abide by the Constitution.


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