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MPs Demand Referendum On Presidential Age Limit Law

A section of Ugandan legislators are demanding for a referendum on the proposed constitutional amendment to lift the age limit for persons seeking to contest for the presidency.

The demand comes at the backdrop of reports a section of National Resistance Movement – NRM legislators have mooted a plan to amend the constitution to allow Museveni to contest for the presidency in 2021 and that the constitutional amendment bill on the same has already been gazetted.

Under the current provision in article 102(b) of the 1995 constitution, President Museveni would not be eligible to contest for the seat. Born in 1944 and in power since 1986, Museveni will hit the limit before the next presidential election.

Article 102(b) states that a person is qualified for election as President if that person is not less than 35 years and not more than 75 years. President Museveni will be 73 this year and 77 in 2021.

Now different Members of Parliament have described the matter as highly sensitive adding that Ugandans should be given an opportunity to decide whether to lift or not to lift the presidential age limit. Kasambya County MP Gaffa Mbwatekamwa says that parliament cannot be left to solely determine the path for Uganda.

Kassanda North MP Patrick Nsamba says that giving Ugandans a chance to determine their destiny is better for Uganda’s democracy adding that legislation should not be about individuals but for the entire country.

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3 thoughts on “MPs Demand Referendum On Presidential Age Limit Law

  1. ABANTU FOR DEVELOPMENT UGANDAs POSITION ON THE UNFORTUNATE DEVELOPMENTS IN PARLIAMENT ABOUT THE AGE LIMIT BILL 2017

    Our caution against pushing for this amendment — noting that the
    basic principles and structure by which the 1995 Constitution enactment was motivated by
    the need to be given careful consideration in order not to introduce a situation of political
    instability and constitutional disorder. The report did further caution that if any
    amendment is going to be undertaken then a detailed consultative process must be
    undertaken before the Bill is introduced in Parliament.
    Sadly, what we witnessed yesterday in Parliament was far from this and we would like to
    condemn in the strongest terms possible the mode of resolving disputes by violence.
    Whilst any private member is constitutionally guaranteed the right to move a Private
    Members Bill by both the Constitution and the Rules of procedure of Parliament. Invoking
    the power given to a private member under rule 111 of the Rules of Procedure of the
    Parliament of Uganda, some members of Parliament sought to move a total of nine
    motions for the introduction of Private Members’ Bills on various issues. Most notable of
    these motions were the motion by Hon. Raphael Magyezi, MP for Igara County West,
    Bushenyi District for inter alia the amendment of article 102 (b) of the Constitution and the
    Motion by Hon Nsamba Oshabe Patrick, MP for Kasanda County North, Mubende District
    for a resolution of Parliament urging the Executive to appoint a Constitutional Review
    Commission to address the various issues that require amendment of the Constitution.
    On 25th September 2017, in her communication from the Chair, the Rt. Hon. Speaker
    informed the House that she had received several motions but that only three met the test
    posed by the Rules of procedure to be placed on the days Order Paper and that she would
    allow them to be presented at an appropriate time during the same sitting of the House.
    When this time came, some members argued that since the notice for Hon. Nsamba’s
    motion was filed on 18th September 2017 and the notice of Hon. Raphael Magyezi was filed
    four days later, Hon Nsamba should be allowed to move his first. This request was met with
    resistance resulting in some members of the House, especially the opposition, disrupting
    the proceedings of the House by repeatedly singing the first stanza of the national anthem.
    Deeming it impossible to conduct the business of the House, the Speaker adjourned the
    House to 2pm on 27th September 2017.
    2
    At resumption of the House, on Wednesday 27th September 2017, the Rt. Hon Speaker
    whilst communicating to the House noted that the actions of some members of Parliament
    had violated the decorum required of them by the Rules of Procedure. She consequently
    invoked her power and suspended 25 members of Parliament including the Hon Kibuule
    Ronald, Minister of State for Water for carrying a firearm to the Chamber of Parliament
    contrary to the rules and thereby endangering the safety of other members.
    The suspended members refused to exit the Chamber of Parliament, whereupon the
    Speaker invoked rule 80 (6) calling the attention of the House to the fact that recourse to
    force is necessary in order to compel obedience to her direction. We contend that MPs
    ought to have exercised as much restraint as possible after the Speaker’s ruling even when
    they disagreed with it.
    However, this fracas would have been avoided if the suspension had excluded that
    particular seating and had been effected from the next sitting of Parliament. Equally
    troubling, contrary to the rules requiring the Sergeant At Arms to effect the ejection, the
    Police and military operatives stormed the chamber to forcefully eject the suspended
    members in the absence of the Speaker. Chaos and fights ensued resulting in brutal arrests
    of the suspended members and sustaining several injuries in the process.
    The intrusion of military personnel and police into the Chamber of Parliament was uncalled
    for especially since the whole of the law and custom of Parliament has its origin from this
    one maxim, ‘that whatever matter arises concerning either House of Parliament, ought
    to be examined, discussed and adjudged in that House to which it relates not
    elsewhere’ See Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England, 17th ed. (1830), vol
    1 at page 163. This intrusion amounts to a surrender of the Parliamentary supremacy and
    sanctity to the pangs of the Executive and hence amounts to a violation of the principles of
    separation of powers akin to the Black mamba siege on the Judiciary.
    We also in the same vein condemn a directive by the Uganda Communications Commission
    barring media Houses from live broadcast of the current events. This directive infringes on
    the citizens’ right to information and is certainly not a permissible derogation under the
    Constitution.
    Recommendations:
    1. we reiterates its recommendations in our Quarterly Rule of Law insites that
    the Age Limit debate must be expanded to have wider input of the citizens and
    must attend to the basic principles and structure of our Constitution reflected in the
    National Objectives on Democracy and as well Article 38 of the Constitution which
    guarantees the civic rights of Ugandans.
    3
    2. Parliament must constitute a select committee of both members of the NRM and
    the Opposition to investigate and review the incidents of yesterday and make
    appropriate recommendations to strengthen the sanctity of Parliament, so as to
    ensure that the disturbing incidents of yesterday are never repeated.
    3. MPs who were arrested should be released immediately and their matters must be
    handled in accordance with the law and rules governing Parliament.
    4. We call upon President Yoweri Museveni to once again reflect on these events and
    provide leadership that will promote the principles of unity, equality, democracy,
    freedom, social justice and progress

  2. Successful leader without successor is a successful failure. President Museveni has completely failed to get successor unless Amaama, his close friend intervenes to help him in 2021,otherwise NRM is being taken over by FDC.
    AGGREY MUGISHA RUSHERE IS A POLICY ANALYST AND HE IS THE CHAIRPERSON ,Rukiga District Development Association (RUDA)

  3. we must organize for a referendum on age limit 2020.even if NRM does what.

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