By Mary Kisakye
Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa has slammed opponents of the age limit amendment, saying that age caps are a responsibility of God and not mortal men.
Nankabirwa was speaking at the burial of the deputy chairman of the National Planning Authority Dr Abel Rwendeire on Sunday, August 8.
“God gave everyone their own age limit and when it clocks, he takes them away. There is, therefore, no need for age limits in the Constitution,” she said, adding that the public should let God make the final decision.
Nankabirwa’s comments followed the recognition by Rev. Fr. Herbert Agaba, who was presiding over the funeral at Kibuzigye Primary School, of Rev. Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda, who has been a strong critic of the planned amendment of the Constitution to remove the presidential age limit.
According to Article 102 (b) of the Constitution, persons vying for the Office of the President of Uganda should not be below the age of 35 and not above 75 years of age. This makes the incumbent president ineligible to run for presidency when his current term expires in 2021.
Fr. Agaba praised Fr Gaetano for speaking out his mind when it comes to critical issues like amending the Constitution to remove age limits, attracting a thunderous applause.
This did not go well with Nankabirwa, who upon taking on the podium, advised Fr Gaetano, who is also the chairperson for Kigezi Inter-Religious Council and the Priest of Kitanga Catholic Parish, to stop confusing his flock.
Nankabirwa’s rants, however, did not please some mourners, who started murmuring and resorted to “Togikwatako” chants.
Fr. Batanyenda then leapt out of his seat and attempted to snatch the microphone from Nankabirwa who declined to hand it over.
The man of God then decided to lay hands on the chief whip and prayed for her before she resumed her seat.
In a conversation with PML Daily, Gaetano vowed to continue using all platforms available to preach against the planned amendment of the Constitution to scrap age limits.
The Age Limit Bill was introduced in Parliament by Igara West MP Raphael Magezi and forwarded to the Legal Affairs Committee for perusal.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga consequently sent MPs to their constituencies to engage their electorate to find out what they think about the matter. She warned that this matter must be decided with utmost consideration of the views of all Ugandans.
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda who was the chief mourner did not comment on the matter.
Rwendeire succumbed to a heart attack in the wee hours of Thursday morning, according to family sources.