The police have made it difficult for the opposition Members of Parliament to hold consultative meetings with the electorate over the age limit bill, Democratic Party President General Norbert Mao has said.
Addressing members of the legal and parliamentary affairs committee at Parliament, Mao, who was flanked by officials of JEEMA and John Ken Lukyamuzi of the Conservative Party, said opposition leaders meetings are often disrupted following heavy police deployment, tear gas and use of live ammunition.
“I would like to report to this committee that the environment for this conversation is very hostile,” Mao said, adding: “Some parties are given chance to give their views without interruption.”
Mao, who introduced himself as the leader of Democratic Party ‘which resolved that Article 102(b) should not be amended’, said the premise of ‘discrimination’ as fronted by the proponents of the age limit bill is not the legal position of the laws of Uganda.
Last month speaker Rebecca Kadaga flagged off MPs to their constituencies to gather people’s views about private members bill being peddled by Igara West legislator Raphael Magyezi, aimed at expunging the 75-year age limit cap enshrined in the 1995 Constitution. Those opposed to the amendment of Article 102 (b) say the move by Magyezi and some other members of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) is aimed at paving the way for a Museveni life presidency.
And making his submission, DP deputy president Fred Mukasa Mbidde, an anti-age removal proponent, noted that the provisions of the Constitution ‘were not to discriminate but to qualify one as president of Uganda’.
“It’s preamble gives very clear picture of the history of Uganda with peace as the key, Mukasa Mbidde, an East African Legislative Assembly MP said, adding: “This is not the only country where limitations are provided for in the Constitution; once age limits are removed, the constitution will lose all the good qualities and become the 1966 constitution.’’.
According to Mbidde, there has been a record of violence in Parliament owing to efforts to amend Article 102 (b), “therefore it should not be amended for peaceful transition of power to happen.”
CP’s John Ken Lukyamuzi told the committee to discard the ‘Magyezi Bill’ on grounds that the 1995 Constitution ‘has not been tested to see its quality’.
“The Magyezi Bill is a ploy to make Museveni a life President; the attempt to amend Article 102 (b) on the basis of bribery is absurd and Ugandans are not prepared to allow,” he said.
Lukyamuzi also castigated some MPs who took the Shs29 million for ‘consultative meetings’, saying they were ‘unpatriotic’.