Despite a number of ugly scenes that have marred the consultations in regards to the age limit, police spokesperson AIGP Asan Kasingye has claimed the process has been moving on smoothly in all parts of the country.
NRM legislators have received hostility in the past weeks from their constituents since parliament gave MPs a go ahead to carry out consultative meetings on article 102(b) of the Constitution that seeks to amend the age limit of a presidential candidate.
Opposition MPs have also on many occasions met resistance from police that blocked many of their joint consultative meetings especially in Kampala and the sorounding areas
However, addressing journalists, Kasingye claimed that so far the meetings are moving on smoothly in all parts of the country, despite ‘isolated’ incidents.
“When you read on the internet and newspapers, it is as if there is chaos in the country,”Kasingye claimed on Monday during the weekly police press conference.
“That is not true. We have over four hundred Members of Parliament and consultative meetings are going on in most of their areas.”
NRM MPs including Simeo Nsubuga, Connie Galiwango, Godfrey Kiwanda and Judith Nabakooba among other legislators have either been booed or fled hostile stone-throwing crowds in their constituencies in the past few weeks due to the age limit.
Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa who also doubles as the Kiboga Woman MP got a cold reception when people ganged and booed her as she tried to address people during the burial of Dr.Abel Rwendeire, the former National Planning Authority deputy chairperson.
James Kakooza a who is at the forefront of lifting of the presidential age limit survived lynching by angry mourners at the burial of the father of Matthias Mpuuga.It took the intervention of the guards of Buganda Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga to save MP Kakooza.
Many other ruling NRM legislators have faced similar cold receptions from members of the public in regards to the age limit bill.
On the other side, opposition MPs have also faced a hard time during their consultative meetings as they have been blocked by police.
Legislators including Allan Ssewanyana,Muwanga Kivumbi, Kato Lubwama,Nandala Mafabi,Ibrahim Kasozi ,Medard Sseggona have tasted police’s wrath through teargas and live bullets to disperse their crowds during their consultative meetings on removal of the age limit.
Many of these MPs have subsequently been arrested and detained at various police stations.
However according to Kasingye, these are isolated incidents that should not cause panic worrying in the country.
“For example in Makindye, the MP(Allan Ssewanyana) decided to consult his people from the middle of the road and we could not accept that,”Kasingye said in defence for the incident in which police and military quelled Allan Ssewanyana’s consultative meeting in Makindye by firing teargas .
A seventeen-year-old lost his hand during the incident after a teargas canister exploded and smashing the hand on Friday.
For the incident in Rukungiri on Wednesday, Kasingye explained that it was not about age limit but confusion caused by the opposition party Forum for Democratic Change.
“The meeting had been organised by Patrick Amuriat to consult the FDC electorates in Rukungiri stadium and these were supposed to be only twelve people,”Kasingye said.
He however noted that police received reports that many other people had turned up for the FDC consultative meeting yet these had not informed police, thus dispersing them.
On firing live bullets by police, Kasingye claimed that the officers used reasonable, legal and justified force to confront the crowd.