Age-limit: “Museveni should listen to the people or there will be chaos”, says former minister

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Former agriculture minister Hope Mwesigye has said President Museveni’s decision to sign into law the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2017 could spell disaster for the country.

Mwesigye’s comments come just a day after it became public that President Museveni appended his signature to the Constitutional (Amendment) Act 2017 which, among others, removes the presidential age limit caps of 35 and 75 years in the constitution.

The Act also extends the term of parliament and local government councils from five to seven years among other provisions which touch on 10 different articles of the constitution.

Museveni signed the bill into law on December 27th, just seven days after it was passed by the 10th parliament amidst acrimony.

Mwesigye who is also the former Kabale District Woman Member for Parliament said at a function in Rukiga district that Museveni’s decision to sign age limit bill into law has left many Ugandans angered.

Mwesigye said that the anger could result into war and bloodshed.

 

Mwesigye said  Museveni should have respected appeals from the majority of Ugandans including religious leaders of avoiding life presidency by not signing the bill, even after Parliament had passed it.

Jack Sabiiti, the former Rukiga County Member of Parliament, said Ugandans will soon regret the age limit removal because it is not aiming at developing the country but only to satisfy President Museveni. Sabiiti says that President Museveni no longer has anything to add on Uganda’s development.

President Museveni while delivering his end of year and New Year message on Sunday evening praised the 317 legislators who supported the amendments saying they played a great role when the country was at crossroads. Museveni compared the 317 MPs to the role played by the 27 fighters who started the war that brought him to power 31 years ago. He also compared them to the 232 MPs of the 7th parliament who opened up the presidential term limits in September 2005.

Ironically, Mwesigye then a minister and a strong ruling NRM party bigwig, was at the centre of efforts to removal the term limits in 2005.

She together with former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, who is also her brother in-law, were the face and mouth of the term limits removal. They fell out with Museveni after Mbabazi expressed ambitions to challenge Museveni for the top seat, going on to stand in 2016 but coming a distant third in the race.

In this latest amendment, the term limits have been reinstated.

Security Minister Henry Tumukunde last week said that parliament passed the age limit bill, now the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2017, because the ruling NRM party is yet to identify President Museveni’s successor.

Tumukunde said there is no reason for Ugandans to worry that Museveni is targeting a life presidency since NRM is in the process identifying his successor.

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