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Uganda’s ‘Age Limit’ debate takes dramatic turn

Vendors display a placard calling for lifting of age limits. PHOTO VIA @NabaasaInnocent

Age Limit debate takes dramatic turn

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  The Uganda presidency age limit debate took a new turn Tuesday morning when a meeting of Members of Parliament (MPs) of the ruling party National Resistance Movement (NRM) resolved to move a private members bill to change the constitution.

Reports from parliament indicate that a meeting that was initially called by the Chief Whip “to discuss the land amendment bill”, went on to address the issue of the age-limit in the constitution. The proposal to change the constitution was overwhelmingly supported by the ruling party members at the meeting.

The majority MPs from the NRM met at Parliament’s Conference Hall A and voted to support the ammendment bill. At the meeting, 246 NRM MPs resolved to move a private member’s bill to lift age limit.

NRM plans to present the bill to parliament later this week.

The Ugandan parliament of 309 is composed of 238 Constituency Representatives, 112 District Woman Representatives, 10 Uganda People’s Defence Forces Representatives, 5 Representatives of the Youth, 5 Representatives of Persons with Disabilities, 5 Representatives of Workers, and 13 ex officio Members.

Article 102 (B) of the constitution sets the age range for president at 35 to 75 years of age, and Museveni who will be 76 in 2021 cannot run for the presidency again – unless the constitution is amended by the MPs. (read full constitution below)

The proposal by the MPs is wide-ranging, and even aims to lower the bar of 35 to be removed so that anyone aged 18 years and above can run for both parliament and the presidency. Other amendments will include Article 183(2)(b) on age of LCVs.

Earlier, taxi drivers and city vendors had marched to parliament calling for the lifting of the term limits for the presidency.

Last year, Uganda’s Parliament differed indefinitely a related “age limit” motion to amend the constitution.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga had then ruled that Nakifuma MP Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleko was not granted leave to move a private members bill, whose intention was to lift age limits of judges and the electoral commissioners.

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