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Ugandan MPs conclude consultations on presidential age limit

By Timothy Sibasi, timothy.sibasi@alleastafrica.com

KAMPALA – After 8 days of intensive consultations, Ugandan lawmakers are expected to return to the parliament on Tuesday with the hope of submitting their conclusive findings and views of their electorates on the proposed deletion of the controversial presidential age limit from the 1995 Uganda’s promulgated Constitution.

Each lawmaker has received an advance cash of UGX29 million from the parliamentary commission late October, to enable them to carry out wide consultations over the contentious subject matter save for a few opposition and NRM MPs who returned the money they deemed to be with ‘evil intentions of corruption’ which they said was aimed at tarnishing their image as well as a waste of tax payers’ money.

The Parliamentary Commission drew up a hooping 13.5 billion shillings budget for consultations after security operatives reported to be part of the elite force of the president, the Special Forces Command carried out a raid on the parliamentary chamber on September 27th, 2017.

During the raid, opposition MPs have been assaulted, magged out of the chambers and bungled into police armored vehicles and whisked into different police detention facilities where they were detained for close to 6 hours.

According to the government, the move was intended to calm the situation that had been created by the Opposition MPs to bar the mover of the proposed private members bill seeking to remove presidential age limit.

Two of the MPs Betty Nambooze Bakireke Woman MP Mukono Municipality and Francis Zaake MP Mityana municipality suffered severe health complications and have since been evacuated to India and the United States respectively for further treatments.

Meanwhile, the raid by security operatives has been criticized by opposition lawmakers and observers. The Inter-Parliamentary Union, an association of all Parliaments in the world that operates the Commonwealth Parliamentary practice have since gone silent over the matter.

However, the incident has spiked sharp contrasts between the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga and president Museveni.

The boxy war between the two has seen the speaker of parliament writing to president Museveni, seeking explanations from him as the commander in chief on the identity of the security operatives who raided the parliament using the entrance of his office to access the chambers, the commander of the security operatives that day and why they had to manhandle the MPs in the manner they did and detaining them.

Museveni too has since responded to the speaker referring her to seek explanations to her questions from the members of national security council who convened a meeting on September 25th, 2017 in the state house, a meeting which the speaker also attended in person seeking for help from the president on the interruption of the parliament’s session on the fateful September 27th.

However, as the MPs return on Tuesday this week from a one month recess and 8 days of consultations with their electorates on the controversial proposed deletion of the presidential age limit among others, the main agenda of the upcoming meeting is expected to focus on the raid of Parliament by security ‘strangers’ who they said are not part of the security VVIP details of Parliament as well as their findings from the electorates about the presidential age limit proposed deletion.

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