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KADAGA: Vote me, I helped push ‘Age Limit’ debate

FILE PHOTO: Museveni and Kadaga.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has asked the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party to recognize her efforts in amending the constitution in 2017 by re-electing her as the 2nd National Vice Chairman.

Speaking Tuesday at State House Entebbe where members of the Central Executive Committee [CEC] were vetting candidates who sought positions on the second-highest policy organ of the party, Kadaga said she facilitated the amendment of the constitution under very strenuous circumstances, for which she deserves a reward.

“In very difficult circumstances, I facilitated the amendment of the constitution under article 102 to enable continuity of the NRM ideology, but most importantly our national chairperson to continue leading the country after the end of the present term. I have demonstrated my commitment to the party throughout…I have enacted all the necessary legislation and I have been available for work in the party throughout,” Kadaga said.

In 2017, 317 members of parliament mainly from NRM voted to amend the constitution to allow Museveni who will be 76 in 2021 to contest for his 6th elective term as president. Prior to its amendment article 102(b)  barred anyone from contesting for the presidency unless they were between 35 and 75 years of age.

This automatically would have disqualified President Yoweri Museveni from contesting again. The process of amending the constitution was so contested that members of the Special Force Command invaded parliament and beat up MPs who had in the past foiled a debate on the amendment by making noise eclipsing the speaker and other members in favour of the motion.

Two MPs, Betty Bakireke Nambooze of Mukono municipality and Francis Zaake of Miyana municipality until now are nursing injuries occasioned on them by the security forces. When eventually the bill was passed and the president assented to it, a number of people ran to the constitutional court that upheld the amendment as legal, although they struck out provisions that related to the extension of the term of office for members of parliament from five to seven years.

Ugandan Opposition MP Allan Ssewanyana (C) holds a chair as he stands on a table after unseen Speaker Rebecca Kadaga asked him and another 24 lawmakers to leave during the plenary session at The Ugandan Parliament in Kampala on September 27, 2017. Uganda’s parliament passed a motion to allow the tabling of a bill scrapping presidential age limits that would let long-standing ruler Yoweri Museveni stay in power.  FILE PHOTO

Dissatisfied, some petitioners ran to the Supreme Court which also upheld the ruling of the Constitutional Court. “I want to urge the NRM members to take into account my contribution and do the needful,” Kadaga said.

In the race, Kadaga, the woman MP for Kamuli district is with State Minister for Lands Persis Namuganza who used her time to say that time is up for oldies in the party. Namuganza said the challenges facing the NRM like the youth wave that is blowing across the country needs a fellow youth like herself.

She said that the fact that opposition MPs like Betty Nambooze and Cecilia Ogwal have expressed a preference for Kadaga is testimony that they don’t like a strong person who will finish them.

“We must stay in power like NRM but to do so, we must have continuous recruitment more so of the young people,” Namuganza said. Also in the race is Deborah Kyazike Kinobe, the former LCV chairperson of Mityana district and Amongin Jane Frances Okiri.

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