14 September 2017

Uganda: MPs Are Free to Debate Age-Limit, Says Museveni

Photo: The Observer
Ruling party MPs dressed in T-shirts showing support for the lifting of the age limit.

Kampala — A day after a joint caucus of NRM and Independent MPs passed a resolution to move a motion in Parliament today paving the way for the introduction of a Bill to amend Article 102(b) and delete presidential age limit, President Museveni last night gave the MPs the green light.

In a late-night press briefing at State House Entebbe, Mr Museveni said the NRM and Independent MPs who converged in the conference hall of Parliament to set into motion a process that will ultimately free him up to run for the presidency as many times as he likes were provoked by "malicious people".

Mr Museveni, however, was quick to explain that the law sets guidelines on how the Constitution can be amended and MPs will follow that process.

"About the NRM people who were yesterday [Tuesday] involved in an activity [of passing a resolution to table a motion].That was not the official NRM caucus. But they are NRM people who have brought their views. In Runyakole, we call them Nyekundire [volunteers].Originally, they were provoked by malicious people," Mr Museveni said.

Asked by the Daily Monitor to definitively indicate whether he will run for the presidency in 2021, Mr Museveni declined to give an answer.

Questioned whether he still maintains the position he gave in a 2012 interview with NTV that someone who clocks 75 years lacks the vigor to rule as President, Mr Museveni made a U-turn and said it is the work of medical doctors to determine this.

"I think you should ask the medical doctors. I should not interfere with their work. You should get a medical report about the fitness of someone past 75 years. On whether that person is physically fit to lead or not," Mr Museveni said.

In 2012, Mr Museveni told NTV that he would not support the amending of the constitution to scrap presidential age limit, saying active leaders are those below 75 years.

"I know there are some leaders who have been leading even beyond the age of 75 but I think if you want very active leaders; it is good to have ones below the age of 75. That is in the Constitution now. And I will not involve myself in wanting to change that.

Because I think there is some scientific logic behind it,"Mr Museveni told NTV in 2012.

It is not clear whether the motion seeking leave to introduce the Private Member's Bill will be handled today because the Order Paper for today's business in Parliament will be circulated at 1:00pm.

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