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Age Limit: NRM, Opposition MPs in Closed-Door Meetings

Both opposition and the ruling party legislators are engaged in closed-door meetings ahead of a possible showdown this afternoon over a motion seeking to lift the presidential age limits from the constitution.
Both opposition and the ruling party legislators are engaged in closed-door meetings ahead of a possible showdown this afternoon over a motion seeking to lift the presidential age limits from the constitution.

 

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on Tuesday adjourned the plenary to today amidst chaos as opposition MPs sought to block Igara East MP Raphael Magyezi from presenting the motion. Magyezi's motion is to seek leave of parliament to draft a constitution amendment bill that could see Article 102(b) of the constitution repealed to remove presidential age limits.

 

Under the current provision, one has to be at least 35 years and not more than 75 years to stand for president.

 

After the fracas on the floor of parliament yesterday, the two sides, those for and those against the Magyezi motion, are back on the drawing board to plan for today's proceedings. The group opposing the removal of age limits is meeting inside the boardroom in the office of the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, while NRM MPs are meeting at the Speaker's boardroom.

 

Members of the opposition claim that the NRM and Government side hope to use the powers of the chair of the house, who is the speaker to silence the opposition.

 

"We know the NRM and those supporting the lifting of the age limits are going to rely heavily on the Speaker's power to silence the opposition, and that is part of what our meeting will look at," a source in the meeting disclosed to URN earlier.

 

The source also notes that members opposed to presidential age limit removal are brainstorming on how to share roles during the discussion. The fracas yesterday, including wearing red ribbons, fist-fights and singing and chanting, appeared to have been well planned ahead of time.

 

Journalists who had gone to attend a press conference in the Speaker's Boardroom today were told to return later. Notable among those meeting with the Speaker include Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Planning Minister David Bahati and Investments and Privatisation Minister Evelyn Anite, a key proponent of the age limit removal.

 

On the opposition side, FDC party President, Major-General Mugisha Muntu, Leader of Opposition Winnie Kiiza and several opposition and Independent MPs are in attendence.

 

Many in the opposition see Magyezi's motion as a move to create an avenue for President Yoweri Museveni to contest for the seat again in 2021 when he will be above 75 years. 

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