Age Limit Must Stay, Say MPs

Majority of the 111 MPs surveyed by The Observer oppose the controversial proposal to remove the presidential age limit from the Constitution.

Of the 111 MPs surveyed last week, out of the 386 legislators that constitute the entire House, 46 said they would oppose the proposal if it came to a vote in Parliament, 31 would support it, 22 were undecided and 12 MPs were not aware of the proposal or want to hear from their constituents first.

Of the MPs surveyed, 77 were NRM, 13 FDC, nine DP, 11 independents and one UPC. Of the 46 who are opposed to the age limit removal, 19 are NRM, 12 (FDC), nine (DP), five are independent MPs and one UPC.

Twenty-nine of the 31 MPs who support the lifting of the age cap are NRM and two are independents. The undecided MPs include 19 NRMs, two independents and one FDC.

Those who are either unaware of the proposal or want their constituents to decide for them include nine NRM MPs and two independents.

MADNESS

Asked why they are opposed to the removal of the age cap, some MPs interviewed said the proposal is a “recipe for anarchy in this country.” Bugweri’s Abdul Katuntu (FDC), Medard Sseggona (Busiro East, DP), Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central) and Paul Mwiru (Jinja Municipality East) referred to the proposal (to remove the age cap) as “madness.”

“I will not support it it is actually madness to propose the lifting of the age-limit,” Katuntu said.

Nyabushozi MP Col Fred Mwesigye (NRM) said: “I don’t support the removal of age-limit, period.”

Masaka Municipality’s Mathias Mpuuga said the framers of the constitution had an aim in inserting the age-limit article to tame the “historical” hitches Uganda underwent before making the 1995 constitution, which introduced age-limits and term limits which were lifted by the 7th Parliament.

“In principle, I don’t believe in lifting age limits because it contravenes the supremacy of the constitution,” said Alex Ndeezi (NRM), PWD representative, Central region.

Those in support of the proposal say the presidency is an important office, which needs someone who has matured.

“I would support it because a 75-year-old person is very useful. The presidency is not a trial, it needs someone who is mature how old is [Zimbabwe’s] Mugabe but he is very active. But I would put it [age-limit] at 80 [years],” said Florence Mutyabule, the Namutumba Woman MP (NRM).

A section of ministers such as Rosemary Najjemba Mbabaali (State for Urban Development), Charles Bakkabukindi (State Sports), Rebecca Otengo (Nothern Uganda), Henry Banyenzaki (Economic Monitoring) and Alex Onzima (Local Government) were outspoken in their support for the controversial proposal on March 20 during a special cabinet meeting.

They were gly countered in opposition by First Lady Janet Museveni (Karamoja), Kahinda Otafiire (Justice and Constitutional Affairs) and Frank Tumwebaze (Presidency and Kampala) who questioned the motive and the timing of the introduction of the proposal for the lifting of the age cap.

Many other MPs declined to openly pronounce themselves on the way they would vote. They were afraid of offending either side of the argument.

Others are playing the wait-and-see game.

“These are constitutional matters. I would have to get the mandate from my constituents,” said Koboko’s Ahmed Awongo (NRM).

This view is shared by MPs Martin Drito (Madi-Okollo, NRM) and Moses Balyeku, (Jinja Municipality West, NRM).

PROPOSAL SUPPORTERS

MPs who support the lifting of the age cap include:

1 Florence Mutyabule (Namutumba Woman, NRM)

2

Onyango Kakoba (Buikwe North, NRM)

3

Kenneth Omona (Kaberamaido, NRM)

4

Yahaya Gudoi (Bungokho North, NRM)

5

Alex Byarugaba (Isingiro South, NRM)

6

Isaac Ssejjoba (Bukoto Midwest, NRM)

7

Grace Namara (Lyantonde Woman, NRM)

8

Dr Jeremiah Twa-Twa (Iki-Iki, NRM)

9

Martin Bahinduka (Ntoroko, Independent)

10

Charles Bakkabulindi (Workers’ representative, NRM)

11

Achia Terehence (Bukora, NRM)

12

Abdil Chemaswet (Kween, NRM)

13

Kase Mubanda (Masaka Woman, NRM)

14

Peace Kusasira (Mukono Woman, NRM)

15

Susan Amero (Amuria, NRM)

16

Vincent Bagiire (Bunya West, NRM)

17

Henry Banyenzaki (Minister for economic monitoring)

18

Ronald Kibuule (State Minister for Water)

19

Rosemary Najjemba Mbabaali (State minister for Urban Development)

20

Dorothy Mpiima (Buikwe Woman, NRM)

21

Stephen Mugabi (Bukooli North, NRM)

22

Ruth Lematia (Maracha Woman, NRM)

23

Michael Mawanda (Igara East, NRM)

24

Frederick Mbaghadhi (Kagoma, NRM)

25

Wamakuyu Mudini (Bulambuli, NRM)

26

Andrew Allen (Bugabula North, Independent)

27

Tete Chelangat (Bukwo Woman, NRM)

28

Nakato Kyabangi (Gomba Woman, NRM)

29

Kasiriivu Atwooki (Bugangaizi West, NRM)

30 Martin Muzaale (Buzaaya, NRM)

MPs OPPOSED

1 Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka Municipality, Independent)

2

Jacob Wangolo (Bunyole West, NRM)

3

Bernard Atiku (Ayivu, FDC)

4

Florence Ibi (Kaberamaido Woman, FDC)

5

Margaret Baba Diri (Koboko Woman, NRM)

6

Stephen Mukitale (Buliisa, NRM)

7

Florence Namayanja (Bukoto East, DP)

8

Joshwa Anywarach (Padyere, Independent)

9

Lulume Bayigga (Buikwe South, DP)

10

Paul Mwiru (Jinja Municipality East, FDC)

11

Patrick Nsanja (Ntenjeru South, Independent)

12

Abdu Katuntu (Bugweri, FDC)

13

Alex Ndeezi (PWD, NRM)

14

Fred Ebil (Kole, UPC)

15

Betty Aol (Gulu Woman, FDC)

16

Odonga Otto (Aruu, FDC)

17

Deogratius Kiyingi (Bukomansimbi, DP)

18

Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga)

19

Latif Ssebaggala (Kawempe North, DP)

20

Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central)

21

Robert Migadde (Buvuma Islands, NRM)

22

Reagan Okumu (Aswa, FDC)

23

Joseph Balikuddembe (Busiro South, DP)

24

Henry Musasizi (Rubanda East, NRM)

25

Ssebuliba Mutumba (Kawempe South, DP)

26

Mathias Nsubuga (Bukoto South, DP)

27

Tete Chelangat (Bukwo Woman, NRM)

28

Gilbert Olanya (Kilak, Independent)

29

Peter Mugema (Iganga Municipality, NRM)

30

Kassiano Wadri (Terego, FDC)

31

Godfrey Kiwanda (Mityana North, NRM)

32

Patrick Nakabale (Youth representative, central, NRM)

33

Hatwib Katoto (Katerera, Rubirizi, NRM)

34

Boaz Kafuda (Busongora South NRM)

35

Odo Tayebwa ((Bushenyi Municipality, FDC)

36

Jack Sabiiti (Rukiga, FDC)

37

Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East)

38

Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala, DP)

39

Mariam Nalubega (Butambala Woman, Independent)

40

Medard Bitekyerezo (Mbarara Municipality, NRM)

41

John Ssimbwa (Makindye East, NRM)

42

Wafula Oguttu (Bukooli Central, FDC)

43

Moses Kasibante (Lubaga North, Independent)

44

Joseph Ssewungu (Kalungu West, DP)

45

Franca Akello (Agago Woman, FDC)

46

William Nzoghu (Busongora North, FDC)

UNDECIDED MPs

1 Arinaitwe Rwakajara (Workers representative, NRM)

2

Theopista Nabulya (Workers’ representative, NRM)

3

John Kamara (Bufumbira North, NRM)

4

Stephen Tashobya (Kajara, NRM)

5

Oleru Huda (Yumbe Woman, NRM

6

Ronah Ninsiimah (Kabale, Independent)

7

Jacob Oboth-Oboth (West Budama South, Independent)

8

Margaret Kiboijana (Ibanda, NRM)

9

Patrick Mulindwa (Kasambya, NRM)

10

Proscovia Alengot (Usuk, NRM)

11

Peter Ogwang (Youth representative Eastern NRM)

12

Vincent Kyamadidi (Rwampara, NRM)

13

James Kakooza (Kabula, NRM)

14

John Mulimba (Samia-Bugwe North, NRM)

15

Denis Obua (Ajuri, NRM)

16

James Mbahimba (Kasese Municipality, NRM)

17

Elizabeth Karungi (Kanungu Woman, NRM)

18

Peter Eriaku (Kapelebyong, NRM)

19

Elijah Okupa (Kasilo, FDC)

20

Ignatius Besisira (Buyaga East, NRM)

21

Evelyn Kaabule (Luuka Woman, NRM)

22

Kyewalabye Majegere (Bunya East, NRM)

23

Justine Khainza (Bududa

24

Harriet Ntabazi (Bundibugyo Woman, NRM Woman, NRM)

25

Remegio Achia (Pian, NRM)

UNAWARE

The following claimed to be unaware:

1

Naome Kabasharira (Ntungamo Woman, NRM

2

Martin Drito (Madi-Okollo, NRM)

3

Rosemary Nyakikongoro (Sheema Woman, Independent)

4

David Bahati (State Minister for Planning)

5

Ahmed Awongo (Koboko, NRM)

6

Moses Balyeku (Jinja Municipality West, NRM)

7

Cadet Benjamin (Bunyaruguru, Independent)

8

Iddi Isabirye (Bunya South, NRM)

9

Xavier Kyooma (Ibanda North, NRM)

10

David Muhumuza (Mwenge North, NRM)

11

Peter Ogwang (Youth representative Eastern NRM)

12

Samuel Ssemugaba (Kiboga West, NRM)

13

Ann Maria Nankabirwa, (Kiboga Woman, NRM)

Source : The Observer

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