VIDEO: Inside Museveni Age Limit Meeting with MPs at State House Entebbe
More details have emerged from a meeting between Uganda’s president and MPs on Parliament’s legal affairs committee on the controversial age limit bill.
The MPs met Museveni Tuesday afternoon at State House Entebbe. The meeting was part of the consultations between the committee and several opinion leaders.
The meeting lasted over two hours.
Committee chairperson and Budama West MP said Museveni was consulted as a former presidential candidate and would be the last witness.
The Oboth Oboth committee will now embark on drafting a report that will be debated in parliament.
The committee has previously met elders, professionals and politicians to seek their views on the bill that remains largely controversial.
One of those consulted was former presidential candidate Prof Venansius Baryamureeba who called for a Museveni exit strategy.
Consultations have also been done in constituencies. But some in opposition claimed Museveni has manipulated the process for his benefit.
ABOUT MUSEVENI AGE LIMIT
The age limit bill seeks to delete article 102b of Uganda’s constitution to allow Museveni contest for president beyond the age of 75.
The age limit clause stands between Museveni and his bid to extend his bid beyond 2021 when Uganda next goes to the polls.
Museveni was born in 1944 and has been in power since 1986.
In 1986, Museveni said Africa’s problem was leaders who overstayed in power. But if the age limit is removed to allow him rule for life, Museveni will have contradicted himself the more.
MUSEVENI: AGE LIMIT UNCONSTITUTIONAL
The committee reportedly asked Museveni to justify age limit.
“The presence of age limits for any elective office goes against Article 1 of the 1995 Constitution, the bedrock of that supreme law, which says ‘Power belongs to the people’,” responded Museveni.
Museveni argued that the age limit should be deleted since elections could determine the people’s choice.
“Since Ugandans are the custodians of the Constitution and their country, they should be given the ultimate duty of determining how and who should lead them through regular free and fair elections instead of being merely ‘legalistic’,” said Museveni.
He further argued that it was wrong to exclude people on the basis of age, yet expect them to vote for others.
“If someone votes, why can’t he be voted for?”
MUSEVENI DEFENDS AGE LIMIT REMOVAL
Museveni preached flexibility since there was a “leadership crisis” in Africa.
He also warned against kicking out potential leaders in the name of being “merely legalistic”.
VIDEO: President Museveni: Whether Museveni stands or not is not the issue, the issue is, why do you become so rigid?, What if you need services of people who are beyond 75? #NBSLiveAt9 #NBSUpdates #AgeLimit pic.twitter.com/GvdnAbxzp7
— NBS Television (@nbstv) December 6, 2017
“In a continent like Africa where we have had a leadership crisis and still faced with many challenges we need to be flexible, not merely legalistic and utilise all the potential from both the young and old,” said Museveni.
Museveni said age limit removal was about Uganda’s destiny and safety, and not about a certain individual.
“This is because it is more about our safety, survival and prosperity and not who leads us on that journey.”
MUSEVENI GIVES EXAMPLES TO JUSTIFY AGE LIMIT REMOVAL
Museveni said the US, China, Russia and Israel had done well even when they aged leaders.
“Israel has since 1948 been rotating leaders young and old. Today Israel is a super power yet in a largely hostile environment,” Museveni lectured the MPs.
“The great leaders that transformed China, Deng Xiaoping and Deng Yingchao, were of advanced age.”
He also praised the wisdom that came with Churchill’s age.
“The great United Kingdom Prime Minister Winston Churchhill was leader up to the age of 81 and offered some of the best leadership to his country.”
MUSEVENI ON AFRICA’S PROBLEM
“I think the problem of Africans is concentrating on trivialities yet our issues should be about the African destiny and how to guarantee our future,” said Museveni.
When Museveni took over in 1986, he diagnosed Africa’s problem as leaders who overstayed in power.
Museveni has been in power for three decades. And he now wants some more.
Museveni said it was wrong for politicians to seek to replace him for the sake of seeming “to say our interest is to improve curriculum vitae (CVs) of individuals”.
“They want to say ‘eyaliko president’ [former president]. We are not here to give jobs to people.”
MUSEVENI BACKS 7-YEAR TERM
Museveni also backed a proposal to increase the duration of his term of office from five to seven years.
Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga is set to introduce a bill for the extension of term limits.
Museveni said a five-year term was “just a joke”.
“For these countries with all these problems, two terms of five years is just a joke,” said Museveni.
“Those who talk about this are just looking at improving their CVs. We might not discuss it now but there is merit at looking at the seven years.”
On the seven-year term limit, he gave an example of France.
“It would give some time to these young countries to develop. France has seven-year terms, I do not see what they have lost,” he said.
MUSEVENI ATTACKS OPPOSITION
Museveni had learnt that opposition MPs on the legal affairs committee had refused to meet him.
He attacked the opposition for being intolerant.
“The intolerance is because the opposition are ideologically bankrupt and have nothing to offer,” said Museveni.
“They are desperate because the Movement has revamped the economy and generated revenue and we are able to deliver to the population. They now think that the only way to get rid of the Movement is to do away with particular players.”
Meanwhile, Museveni said the age limit bill was not about him only since it would also open for those below the age of 35 to contest.
On whether he would be fit to lead past the age of 75, Museveni said he would only play a guiding role.
“Politics is not Olympics or rugby where you need to compete physically. The presidency is a guiding role.”
DID MUSEVENI JUST LECTURE TO MPS
Available information suggests that Museveni took MPs through some sort of lecture.
It is difficult if the MPs interacted with Museveni the same way it has been interacting with other witnesses.
For example, a report on the president’s website reads thus, “after taking the MPs through – an elaborate history of the American War of Independence,
- formation of Modern Day America,
- collapse of Capitalism in 1929 through the Great Depression and
- the final introduction of presidential term limits in 1947, President Museveni warned Africans against aping everything from the West while ignoring their local conditions and realities.”
The closing statement of the same report says the members had asked committee deputy chairperson Robinah Rwakoojo to give a vote of thanks to president.
Indeed Rwakoojo thanked Museveni “for according them audience, and indicated they would do a good job writing a report that captures all views picked from those they interfaced with”.