Uganda’s ruling National Resistance Movement-NRM party parliamentary caucus has resolved to kick out the presidential age limit from the constitution. Article 102 (b) of the Ugandan constitution restricts Ugandans outside the (35 -75) age bracket from running for President.
However, the NRM legislators have mandated their colleague, Raphael Magezi, the Igara East Member of parliament to seek leave of parliament and present a private member’s bill seeking to delete the provision from the constitution.
The decision was reached in a meeting involving NRM legislators and minister at the parliamentary conference room. According to Magezi, the proposed amendment follows wide consultations with their electorate. “We need to amend the constitution to allow any registered voter who qualifies to stand for Member of Parliament to stand for president,” Magezi told journalists on Tuesday morning at parliament.
Only Monica Amonding, the Kumi municipality MP out of the 246 legislators present at the meeting rejected the proposal. She told journalists that she couldn’t be party to the proposal without the consent of her electorate, saying she was only invited for a consultative meeting.
Adolf Mwesigye, the Local Government Minister, says article 102 b contradicts the constitution on issues of equality and democracy. He argues that power belongs to the people, adding that voters have the power to eject or reject any candidate.
The amendment of the constitution will allow president, Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled Uganda for three decades, to seek another term of office. Museveni, who is currently, 72 years, will be above 77 years when his current five year term ends in 2021.
This is not the first time the ruling party is using its strength in parliament to amend the constitution. In 2016, NRM legislators used their numbers to remove the two term presidential limits from the constitution to allow Museveni to seek re-election.