Raphael Magyezi, the Igara East MP who was appointed Minister of Local Government was the first to appear before the committee followed by Judith Nabakooba, the Mityana Woman MP and former Police Spokesperson who was appointed Minister for Information, Communication and Technology (ICT).
Magyezi said that he was enthused by the fact that the judges, but the majority, found no fault with his bill. However, Magyezi said he would have liked to see a court decision permitting the extension of the term of parliament to 7-years for practical reasons mainly to allow spending less money on elections but also give time to MPs to focus on their legislative work.
The minority report signed by eight legislators is against the recommendations carried in the committees main report signed by 20 MPs. The main committee report agrees with the Bill recommending for the removal of the upper presidential age limit and a reduction of the lower limit to 18 years.
Several members of the committee have criticized the slow pace of the process. The committee expected to engage with at least 50 teams of witnesses between October 31 and November 20, according to its consultation roadmap.
Efforts by Oboth-Oboth to calm down the situation didnt yield results as the Committee members insisted that Magyezi respects the committee. At this point, Magyezi dropped his submission before Oboth and walked out.
President Yoweri Musevenis revelation on Friday that he supported the age limit bill was the climax to a badly kept secret about the move engineered by Igara West Member of Parliament, Raphael Magyezi. It is the speed at which the Magyezi Bill has moved through parliament with full support from cabinet, a rare thing for private members bills, that has raised questions.
Magyezi, the mover of the bill, accused its membership of bias and demanded that the committee is reconstituted.However, MPs led by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament Winnie Kiiza argued that Magyezis fears are unfounded.
The demand comes a week after the legal committee chaired by West Budama South MP Jacob Oboth-Oboth decided that Kyaka south MP Jackson Kafuuzi would not be allowed to vote on the final report on the bill. Kafuuzi seconded Magyezis motion seeking leave to draft the bill.
The decision came after the Igara West Member of Parliament Raphael Magyezi sought leave of parliament to introduce a private members bill entitled The Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2017. In the bill Magyezi seeks to amend Article 102 b of the constitution in order to change the presidential age limit, now capped at 75.
The acceptance of the motion was announced by the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga after amending the order paper issued earlier in the day. She announced that Parliament was accepting four of the seven notices for motions issued by private members over the last one week.
The group led by Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa downplayed reports that the opposition scored highly by blocking a session in which a controversial bill for the amendment of Article 102 b of the constitution would have been tabled.
State Minister of Finance David Bahati says that, following consultations with the ministries of Local Government and Gender, plus the Electoral Commission, it was agreed that the elections should be held in January to allow for the lower administrative units to become operational.