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Uganda MPs being held hostage by "Life Presidency" bill



by Joseph Earnest December 17, 2017


Newscast Media KAMPALA—A bill to rewrite the Uganda Constitution and remove the age limit for presidential candidates has been introduced into the Ugandan Parliament for consideration on December 18, 2017. The purpose of the bill, is to allow the current ruler, Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled the country for over three decades, to serve as Uganda's president for life. 

Article 102(b) of the Uganda Constitution prevents anyone over the age of 75 and under the age of 35 years from running for president. Museveni, who claims to be 73 years old, would be able to run again in 2021, and rule the country for life, if this bill were to pass.

Opponents of the bill have been intimidated and harassed by police and security officers, and members of the ruling party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM), have been prevented from leaving Kampala or the country, until they pass the "Life Presidency" bill, according to the Weekly Observer.

A study, titled: 'Citizen's Perceptions on the Proposed Amendment of Article 102(b) of the Constitution' was commissioned by Citizens Coalition on Electoral Democracy (CEEDU) and Uganda Governance Monitoring Platform (UGMP) found that 85 percent of the citizenry opposed lifting the age limit, yet the dictatorship has suppressed peaceful demonstrations. The AFP reported that tear gas and rubber bullets have been fired at crowds demonstrating against Museveni's dictatorship.

Reports also highlight the corrupt nature of Ugandan MPs, who have reportedly been wired 29 million Ugandan Shillings (the equivalent of approximately $8,000),  to consider lifting the age limit. However, some lawmakers who have their constituents' interest at heart, returned the money so as not to taint themselves with 'funny money'.

“The money is immoral and should be returned by all MPs. Leaders should be mindful of integrity. You cannot just eat money without minding your own suffering people,” said Butambala MP, Mr Muwanga Kivumbi, according to the Daily Monitor.

Earlier last week, Busoga University was shut down and its license revoked, over allegedly issuing fake degrees, even though the main university, Makerere University has earned a reputation of issuing fake college degrees, according to the BBC, and early this year, had to withhold 14,00 transcripts over fake grades.

Why would the government shut down Busoga University at such a time as this, yet allow Makerere University to operate, even though both institutions are guilty of the same crime?

Therein lies the answer—to embarrass the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, and intimidate her into tabling the bill, since according to the Commonwealth Law Conference, among her many distinguished responsibilities, is Chairperson of Busoga University.

With a countenance of someone performing under fear and duress, Rebecca Kadaga has finally relented, and now said the debate of the controversial bill will start immediately once it is tabled before the House on Monday, December 18, even though she knows she is working against the very citizenry that put her into office.

The most satisfactory way to resolve this issue would be through a national referendum.

As such, the natives, and the MPs of Uganda, are being held hostage over an absurdity of a bill that the majority opposes, while the few who serve their own agendas, aspire to become beneficiaries of the life presidency.

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