Ten National Resistance Movement (NRM) party legislators have written to President Museveni demanding that he distances himself from the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill that seeks to lift the presidential age limit.
The bill if passed by parliament would pave way for the amendment of Article 102(b) of the constitution, which caps the presidential age at 75.
If amended, the move would eliminate the last hurdle for Museveni to seek reelection when his term of office ends in 2021. He is now aged 73, and would not be eligible for another term of office.
The MPs, who are all opposed to the amendment currently before parliament, describe the bill fronted by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi as divisive and opportunistic adding that it has alienated the majority of ruling NRM members and Ugandans.
The letter is signed by MPs; Theodore Ssekikubo, Monicah Amoding, Barnabas Tinkasimire, Patrick Nsamba Oshabe, Sam Lyomoki, Gaffa Mbwatekamwa, John Baptist Nambetsye, Alex Ruhunda, Sylvia Rwabwogo and Felix Okot Ogong.
They are collectively demanding that president Museveni who also doubles as the NRM party chairman urgently convenes a meeting of the Central Executive Committee (CEC), the National Executive Council (NEC), and National Conference to consider and adopt a common position on the proposed amendment.
The MPs also asked President Museveni to consider setting in motion, a planned democratic and transparent transition and succession process within the NRM party and national presidency.
“Having risen to the deserved status of Father of the Nation; you owe it to the current and future generation to hand over a stable and vibrant democracy. The gift you bestow to Ugandans is a smooth transition of power.” reads the letter.
Addressing journalists at parliament, Buyaga West MP Barnabas Tinkasimire said it was appalling that Government has abdicated its cardinal mandate and responsibility for the Constitutional process by abandoning such an important process to a private member.
“This is not only horrendous but unacceptable. Even if a constitutional amendment was relevant, the mischief of such should be owned and backed by all NRM organs and Administrative Committees, not individuals,” said Tinkasimire.
“We are tired of a man who says this and turned against it, he was interviewed and said if Ugandans want someone with vigor they should not go for someone above 75 years, now he thinks we were not listening,” he added
He described the action by the government as a vote of no confidence in the President and Cabinet.
Sylvia Rwabwogo, the Kabarole Woman MP said advocates of the amendments are misleading the president.
“The people advising him are taking him to the wrong direction and the Museveni we know does not would not have chosen the direction. We owe it to the party and Museveni to realise the sacrifice of those that went to the bush so we realise a peaceful change of government,” she said.
In October 2004, Ssekikubo was among the people who vehemently disagreed on the term limit removal. He later in 2005 voted for a constutional amendment that removed term limits.
In October 2011, during an NRM caucus meeting on government handling of oil contracts, a group of NRM MPs led by Theodore Ssekikubo, Chris Baryomunsi, Barnabas Tinkasiimire, Muhammad Nsereko, Wilfred Niwaga, Cerinah Nebanda (RIP) and Henry Musasizi walked out on the President over what they called “a sinister plot to hijack the independence of Parliament and entrench corruption in the oil sector”.
The legislators had shared the same opinion with then workers’ MP, Sam Lyomoki. However, after their walk out, Lyomoki changed his mind and suggested to the president that Ssekikubo and group be disciplined.
Notwithstanding, Lyomoki, Ssekikubo, Tinkasiimire, Niwagaba and Nsereko have time and again been on the other side of NRM’s plans.
The group put up a spirited condemnation of governments invasion of the high court to arrest suspected rebels attached to the People’s Redemption army in 2006. The same group were involved in fights with government when they demanded an accountability regarding the death of Butaleja Woman MP Cerinah Nebanda on 2012.