NRM sends six more MPs to legal committee

Nile Post News

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The ruling National Resistance Movement has moved to add six of its Members of Parliament on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee currently considering the controversial ‘Age Limit’ Bill.

The bill seeks, among others, to repeal Article 102(b) of the Constitution, which caps the presidential age at 75, a move which could make President Yoweri Museveni eligible to contest for another term of office.

Museveni would be ineligible to contest for the presidency in 2021 when his current term ends as he will be above 75 years of age.

The committee was on September 27 tasked by the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to scrutinise the Bill tabled by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi and present a report to parliament.

In yesterday’s plenary session chaired by deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyah, Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa, took to the floor and designated the six members to the committee.

Those added to the committee are the newly elected MPs including Rubanda Woman MP Prossy Akampulira Mbabazi, Kabong Woman MP Rose Lilly Akello, Iganga Woman MP Brenda Asinde Ssuubi, and Rukiga Woman MP Caroline Kamusiime.

The others added to the committee include Kibanda North MP Taban Amin and Nansana Municipality MP Robert Kasule Ssebunya.

The number of MPs on the Committee is now 29.

The Rules of Procedure provide for a maximum of 30 MPs on a particular committee.

The committee has 19 NRM MPs, six Independents, two members from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party and two from the Democratic Party (DP).

A section of the committee’s members mainly from the Opposition and Independents have publicly declared that they are against the proposed amendment while majority of the NRM MPs remain silent on the matter.

The ruling NRM Parliamentary Caucus supports the Bill.

The addition of new members comes a week after the committee chaired by West Budama South MP Jacob Oboth-Oboth finished the collection of views from different individuals and institutions both in support and against the Bill.

The committee is yet to receive clearance from the Speaker to embark on the planned upcountry consultative meetings.

Following the addition of these NRM MPs, Opposition Chief Whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda raised a procedural point asking whether more members can be sent to a particular committee with a view of generating a report that supports the removal of Article 102(b).

He reported that when the ‘Age Limit’ Bill was sent to the committee, Nankabirwa threatened to change the composition of the committee and also noting that the mover of the Bill, MP Magyezi demanded for the same.

However, Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah cited by-elections in the newly created districts and other constituencies saying that all these MPs have a right to belong to committees.
He ruled that there was nothing irregular about the designation of MPs.

Ssemujju conceded to Oulanyah’s ruling : “I painfully take guidance especially the circumstances under which it is being done.”

He said this before designating the newly elected Kyotera Woman MP Robinah Ssentongo to the committee of Health and that of Local Government Accounts.

Last month, ahead of the consideration of the ‘Age Limit’ Bill, Nankabirwa said that she was considering adding more NRM MPs to the legal and parliamentary affairs committee.

The composition of the membership on a committee is supposed to reflect the party’s numerical strength in parliament.

 

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