Kampala. Top cadres of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party yesterday welcomed the move by President Museveni to assent to the constitutional amendment Bill, which makes him eligible to contest in the next presidential elections and beyond.
With the signing of the age limit Bill into law on December 27, 2017, the top NRM cadres have advised their Opposition counterparts to honourably accept defeat and return to work.
“It’s good that the President has swiftly assented to it and he had to do so as he is mandated by law. As NRM party, we are excited that the Bill was assented to by the President and we are going back to the grassroots to work,” Mr Solomon Silwanyi, the vice chairperson of the NRM Caucus, told Daily Monitor in a telephone interview yesterday.
Mr Silwanyi, who is also the Bukooli Central MP, added: “To our brothers in the Opposition, they should accept defeat honourably.”
Museveni applauds MPs
In his New Year message to Ugandans that was televised on major TV and radio stations, President Museveni saluted the 317 MPs, mainly from his ruling party, for voting ‘Yes’ to the amendment that he said would result into a flexible Constitution.
“I want to salute the 317 MPs who defied intimidation, malignment and blackmail and opted for a flexible Constitution to deal with the destiny issues of Africa instead of maintaining Uganda on the path of unimaginative, non-ideological, neo-colonial status quo. By so doing, they enabled us to avoid the more complicated paths that would have been required,” Mr Museveni said.
The NRM party Deputy Secretary General, Mr Richard Todwong, yesterday applauded the President for assenting to the Bill.
“Having been passed by Parliament, I knew the President would sign it. From the NRM side, we supported it right from its infant stage,” Mr Todwong said.
Weighing in on the same excitement, Information minister Frank Tumwebaze welcomed the President’s move to assent to the age limit Bill.
“We supported the Bill whole heartedly as we wanted the people of Uganda to have a chance of electing their own leaders,” he continued.
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, when contacted, branded President Museveni’s assent to the Bill as ‘positive’ for the country’s destiny.
“Two out of three of the MPs supported this Bill and it’s good that the country is consolidating its future and destiny. We are happy that this is happening,” he said.
Mr Jacob Oboth Oboth, the chairperson of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, a committee that handled the scrutinisation of the Bill, said he was glad that the Bill he oversaw had come to its completion with the President assenting to it.
However, Opposition Chief Whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said they [NRM] shouldn’t celebrate as the court process is not yet done.
“Museveni and NRM followers wanted to close this age limit thing as soon as possible given the fact that it was unpopular.
They realised how bad it was for the image of the country and themselves as politicians,” Mr Ssemujju, who is also the Kira Municipality MP, said.
He added that the happiness exhibited by the NRM MPs is because they have also stolen two extra years.
“The celebration is mutual since Museveni and the MPs have all benefited in their own way. But until the court processes are complete, they shouldn’t celebrate,” the MP warned in a telephone interview yesterday.