Kampala, Uganda | GODFREY SSALI | Igara West Member of Parliament Raphael Magyezi Tuesday tabled the controversial Constitution Amendment Bill 2017 for first reading as he seeks to remove the presidential age limit that is currently capped at 75 among other things.
The draft bill would provide for the time within which to hold presidential, Parliamentary and local government council elections.
The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2017 also seeks to increase the number of days within which the Electoral Commission is required to hold a fresh election where a presidential election has been nullified; and for related matters.
The other object of the bill is to amend the Constitution; to provide for eligibility requirements for a person to be elected as District Chairperson which is also currently capped at 30 for lower age and 75 upper age respectively.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has forwarded the Bill to the House Committee on legal and parliamentary affairs for scrutiny, and the committee is expected to meet the justice and constitutional affairs minister and other stakeholders to get their views before submitting its report to Parliament.
Presiding over the predominantly partisan parliament due the absence of the Opposition in the house, Kadaga emphasized the need for the committee to give utmost consideration of citizens’ interests while debating and considering the Bill.
“I want to remind you honorable members that this matter touches articles; 1and 2 of the constitution, the people must be involved in this deliberation,” said Kadaga.
Article 1 of the Uganda constitution states that all power belongs to the people who shall exercise their sovereignty in accordance with this Constitution while Article (2) states that Without limiting the effect of clause (I) of this article all authority in the State emanates from the people of Uganda; and the people shall be governed through their will and consent.
The bill that is seen as a significant step towards securing a free run for President Yoweri Museveni to seek re-election in 2021 last week, it culminated into a two day brawl in Parliament.
Museveni could become the first direct beneficiary of the proposed amendment given the fact that currently at 73, he is not eligible for re-election in 2021 as he will be above 75 years.
Magyezi argued that article 102(b) in the Uganda constitution is discriminatory and against the notion ofinclusiveness since it bars people below 35 years and above 75 years from running for presidency.