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AGE LIMIT: The full story from in, and out of parliament

Deputy Speaker Oulanyah presides over Parliament on September 21, 2017

THE FULL STORY: Chaos reigns in and out of Uganda Parliament as expected debate on motion on age limit removal is deferred

Kampala, Uganda | GODFREY SSALI |  The much anticipated motion for MP Raphael Magyezi seeking leave of parliament to introduce a Private Member’s Bill to amend the constitution was not even on the Order Paper Thursday afternoon, but that did not diffuse tension that had been building all day.

Chaotic scenes in and outside Uganda’s parliament were relayed live on television, as opponents and supporters of proposed amendments to the constitution, dubbed the “Age Limit Motion” argued their cases, many times physically.

When it all settled down, Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, amidst shouts of “order”, and singing by some, had two problems, that he resolved tactfully.

“There are two problems and they are big problems; one is that members are not ready to sit and the second problem is that the speaker is not ready to chair a parliament that does not want to sit. Therefore, this house is adjourned to Tuesday at 2:00 o’clock,” ruled Oulanyah.

Parliament therefore adjourned without debating the much anticipated notice of motion seeking absence of leave by Magyezi to introduce a constitutional amendment bill to lift the presidential age limit, among many other things.

Magyezi (Igara West,NRM) was expected to present a motion seeking leave of parliament to introduce an omnibus Private Member’s Bill to amend Articles 102 (b), 108(3a) and 108(4) in a move seen as a significant step towards securing a free run for President Yoweri Museveni to seek re-election in 2021.

The incumbent Museveni is 73-years-old and is, under the current constitution, ineligible to stand in 2021 when Uganda is scheduled to hold its next presidential and general elections

State Minister Evelyn Anite shouts ‘point of order’ in a heated parliament on Thursday

Speaker and Deputy resolve debate for next week

In his communication to the house the deputy speaker Oulanyah indicated that after a morning meeting with speaker Rebecca Kadaga, they came to a conclusion that the notice of motion be considered at a later stage.

Oulanya noted they cannot allow a matter for debate in parliament, outside the specified procedures because the Rules of Procedure require members to be informed in time to allow them to fully prepare and debate.

“This matter that is being intentioned is not here today and a proper process will handle it and a determination of what will happen to it will be made by the appropriate organ of this house,” said Oulanyah.

Leader of Opposition protests heavy security

The speaker’s communication was followed by a statement by the leader of opposition Winnie Kiiza (Kasese district) in which she protested the “heavy presence of security at parliament, arrests of political leaders and brutality against students at Makerere University.” (see protests video page 2)

Owing to the chaos that ensued preceding plenary, Kiiza asked the Deputy Speaker to adjourn the house to allow MPs absorb the shock associated with besieging parliament.

“I would request Right Honorable Speaker that you find it within your powers to adjourn the house to give members time to go and reflect on what has happened today, stated Kiiza, adding that   “Parliament needs a working environment that is secure and free of intimidation, what is happening in the country should not be taken lightly.”


  1. Anyone looking at the behaviour of the opposition would immediatley make a shallow analysis like Mr. Mwenda and say that the opposition is being unfair because NRM has the”right” to change the constitution. While this myopic assessment is delivered with finality that should cease all debate one has to realize that the chaos by opposition has deeper historical and issues in the status quo of Ugandan politics. First , in a situation where an oppressive an dbrutal regime refuses public expression by the opposition the only avenue left for FDC MPS is to make life hard for them in parliament. Why should anyone think that its ok for the M7 regime to cynically cite “security concerns” and brutally crash publlc resistance then expect that the MPs will be docile and cowed.
    whereas I agree that age limit and term limits is accepted in many countries , and should not be an issue in Uganda; we should remember that M7 shot his way to power in 1986 and has contnued to use the military and all manner of nefarious activities to stay in power. We all know in Uganda that the elections are anything but free and fair so to cynically tell MPs to campaign harder assumes that the electoral process in Uganda is free. The main concern with age limit is M7 has overstayed his welcome and we know that NRM will never allow to defeated at the polls. They choose the electoral commission , they choose the judges, they control police who are used to rig elections every 10 years. Therefore the framers of the 1995 constitution realized that Uganda is not like USA or UK. Uganda has a history of bad leaders wanting to over stay in power. It is interesting that only leaders in the world who forced their way into power seek to change the constitution. If M7 had set a solid foundation and vison for Uganda through the NRM party , then it would not matter even if he left power cause NRM would continue to pursue this vision. However we all know that NRM is held together by the cult of perosnality of M7. Therefore , yes the majority party has the right to change the law but a regime that has suppressed public freedoms and stole its way into power does not have that right and needs to be resisted by all means. After 35 years, anyone educated Ugandan can see for themselves that we need new ideas. I wil even hazard a guess that 70% of NRM mps are not iin because they believe in M7 ; they all just want personal gain and primitive accumulation of wealth and M7 is aware about this . M 7 has no friends just ask Kategaya, Mbabazi, Mayombo, Aronda, Mushega, etc etc…

  2. i thank m7 for his hard working,development and many other good works he did while on power as present for over 20 years, uplifting rural areas to urban areas i thank him so so much for and many people believe that am very right BUT if it is a rule that after the age limit mentioned above,there must be a change in leadership,so it is very important to follow and should be in a peaceful way .secondly as a leader we need to respect him and speak to him in a respectful way not in abusive language because some people has bad and hurting wards which is not good and will cause conflict among m7 and his supporters, and other opposition members.

    • mr. m7 only listens to you when you tell him pakalast otherwise you are his enermy. for God’s Shake M7’s Era Must Come To An End.

  3. u have publicly mentioned the appetite for money by some pipo in the media citing Andrew mwenda and most nrm mpz but what iz very clear iz DAT most ov thoze mpz will not return to in the 11th parliament due to denial and betrayal we shall not vote them back so let them continue milking m7 autocratic regime just like the owner of this news paper,when the independent had just started back in days it had many intellectual customer readers becoz it would report with equality but per now intellectual customer news paper buyers have shifted to other media y…..

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