Age Limit: Three MPs withdraw from Teso Parliamentary Group


Three opposition legislators from Teso have withdrawn from a parliamentary group, which brings together legislators from the sub region due to differences over the presidential age limit.

They are Julius Ochen, the Kapelebyong County Member of parliament; Herbert Ariko, Soroti Municipality and Soroti Woman MP, Angelina Osege.

Both Ariko and Osege belong to the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) while Ochen belongs to Uganda People's Congress (UPC).

They accuse their chairperson, Patrick Okabe, the Serere County MP of using his position to please President Museveni.

Okabe belongs to the ruling National Resistance Movement party.

Ochen said he can't continue subscribing to a group whose only goal is to serve Museveni's interests.

The MP accused Okabe of telling Museveni during his recent visit to Bukedea district that all members of Teso Parliamentary Group support the scrapping of the presidential age limit, a claim he dismissed as false.

Osege said the leadership of the group has also been attempting to distribute money to MPs to support the Constitution (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2017, which seeks to scrap article 102 (b) from the constitution that caps the president's age at 75 years.

Ariko, who has been the secretary general of the group, said he is tired of being part of a weak leadership, saying he will only return once a new leadership is put in place.

Okabe labelled the accusations levelled against him as mere political propaganda aimed at tarnishing his reputation.

"All members of Teso Parliamentary Group know the benefits of being in an association. We have been using the group to lobby government to do a number of projects for our people," Okabe said.

He insisted that group serves the interests all of the people of Iteso irrespective of their political beliefs.

This is not the first time some members are withdrawing from the group.

In 2006, Musa Ecweru, the minister of state for Disaster Preparedness withdrew from the group, which was then dominated by the FDC party legislators.

The group is comprised of 33 members of parliament drawn from all the constituencies in Teso sub region.

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