Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) President Major General Mugisha Muntu has implored the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) to uphold and prioritise national aspirations, in respect to the raging debate about the 75-year presidential age limit cap enshrined in the 1995 Constitution.
Gen. Muntu’s petition to the UPDF follows a September 14 meeting in which some National Resistance Movement (NRM) legislators who are advocating for removal of presidential age limit convened at Parliament, where lead protagonist, State Minister of Finance Planning and Economic Development Evelyn Anite, reportedly re-echoed her previous words said on TV talkshow, to the effect that no one can intimidate the ruling party advocates of the age limit removal because they ‘have the support of the army’.
Anite’s, ostensibly dragging the army into politics, has since elicited mixed feelings among Ugandans of different political shades including among others politicians, religious leaders and human rights groups, and, while addressing the press before the beginning of the FDC delegates meeting in Luweero district, Gen. Muntu implored the army to remain non-partisan.
“I know for sure that officers in Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) are intelligent and know what is happening in the country and they will put their country first,” Gen. Muntu said, adding: “Whatever they (army officers) do, they should think about the country and work toward a country in which they would want to operate in when they are no longer in uniform because they will not wear that uniform until the end of time.”
“I was in uniform; I commanded the army from 1989 to 1998. I retired from the army. I am now a civilian; I don’t have an escort,” the retired Two-Star General said, further disclosing that he has suspended his party presidential campaigns to December 28, to join anti-age limit removal crusaders who are also advocating for maintaining Article 102(b) of the Constitution.
Further, Gen. Muntu to a swipe at Minister Anite, saying she has not considered Uganda’s dark past.
“She is being reckless,” Gen. Muntu said, adding: “We cannot afford to go where Somalia, South Sudan and DRC are because of just one person.”
FDC spokesperson Semujju Nganda also weighed in on the issue, saying they would block any attempts by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi to table a private members bill seeking to remove the 75-year age limit cap from the Constitution.
“Some of us will leave Parliament in wheelchairs; I will not stand there and see Magyezi table this bill,” Semujju Nganda, the Kira Municipality MP, charged.