Done deal: Legal Committee agrees to lift age-limit

Edris Kiggundu

Edris Kiggundu

, News

The parliamentary Legal and Affairs Committee has agreed to scrap article 102 (b) from the Constitution, sources on the committee have told The Nile Post.

The article concerns itself with the presidential age-limit and has become a matter of big public debate and controversy.

The agreement to lift the age-limit cap was reached at Serena Hotel in Kigo, Entebbe Road, where the committee is holding a week-long retreat to finalise a report on the age-limit bill.

According to sources at the retreat, majority of the members agreed that the article discriminates against older people who could be in position to offer leadership.

When the matter was put to vote, 18 MPs out of the 23 present voted in favour including Gaffa Mbwatekamwa, the Kasambya MP who has been a critic of the bill.

“Members believe that even if someone is 80 years old, they can still be able to run a country,” one of the MPs speaking anonymously told The Nile Post.

Three MPs voted to oppose the bill; Abdu Katuntu, Medard Sseggona and Monica Amoding.

Katuntu and Sseggona were the only opposition MPs that attended the retreat.

Opposition members has vowed to come up with a minority report.

The committee is expected to make that position formal in its report, which it is compiling.

The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee  went into the retreat after meeting President Museveni at State House. Museveni, who is seen as the first direct beneficiary of the amendment told the MPs that it is wrong to focus on “who leads” at the expense of what needs to be done.”

Museveni also told the MPs that the five year tenure for a president and MP is too short and agreed with a proposal to extent the tenure to seven years.

“In a continent like Africa where we have had a leadership crisis and still faced with many challenges we need to be flexible, not merely legalistic and utilise all the potential from both the young and old. This is because it is more about our safety, survival and prosperity and not who leads us on that journey,” President Museveni told the MPs.

There are 23 MPs at Kigo.

Some opposition MPs like Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda and some independent MPs, like Muhammad Nsereko, shunned the retreat.

Sources told us that there is tight security at the hotel with scrutiny of members of the public accessing it.

The committee has budgeted for Shs 88 million for the retreat at the hotel where an average room goes for $200 a night.

Our sources at Kigo told us that the committee shall wind up the retreat today and is expected to table the report before the whole House on  Tuesday December 12.

Some people fear that on Tuesday we could see a repeat of the chaos which was witnessed at parliament on September 27 when Raphael Magyezi, the Igara West MP attempted to table the bill.

There is speculation that parliament could vote on the report before it goes on Christmas recess.

 

 

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