Former minister for ethics and integrity, Miria Matembe has called on Ugandans ‘to wake up’ and resist the removal of the presidential age limit.
“I am calling upon this God, who is in our country’s motto ‘For God and My Country’ to wake up Ugandans who are in deep sleep so that they can get up and resist the amendment of the age limit,” she said while appearing on NBS TV Thursday.
On the ban on the age limit debate by the Inspector General of Police General Kale Kayihura, Matembe, who was a member of the Constitutional Commission that created the Ugandan Constitution, says ‘there is no smoke without fire’.
“Now that it has come out, we must debate it by now. Because once bitten, twice shy,” the ferocious Matembe said, noting that since presidential term limit was removed, Ugandans can’t take chances anymore.
“It has come again…Therefore for us we must start debating it now. Age limit is not a small issue, it is a fundamental issue. It is a matter like retirement. This Constitution has got age limit for specific officers. Even retirement for Presidents is provided for. Now, why do you say that if Ugandans want, they must debate…. I mean; should Ugandans debate as to whether a criminal should be prosecuted or not?
“Because if there is a law that once you steal, you should be prosecuted. Should we have arguments to say; those who don’t want to be prosecuted should debate it or not…. There is a clear law that once a President at 75…retirement. You can’t go beyond that. Why are they saying; it should be discussed? Majority of Ugandans whether rural or urban don’t want this age limit amended,” a furious Matembe thundered.
Matembe was reacting to a yet-to-be gazetted Constitution amendment Bill which contains a clause to remove the presidential age limit.
The Bill will soon be in parliament that is dominated by MPs from President Yoweri Museveni’s party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM).
Matembe, who was once a strong supporter of Museveni and a minister, fell out with him in 2003 over the removal of the presidential term limits.
Appearing on BBC Radio last week, she said that while creating the Uganda constitution, the two vital laws that they included in the document were the presidential term and age limits.
“This was to avoid a reoccurrence of coup detats and bloodshed that had previously characterized the country. But now, term limits were removed. Now they want to remove even the remaining limit on a president’s age,” Matembe said.