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Amending Constitution is not necessary, says Archbishop Odama

Archbishop John Baptist Odama addresses journalists at Numec Media Centre in Gulu. Photo by Willy Chowo.



GULU–Gulu-President Museveni should pronounce himself on the age limit debate to save Uganda from further embarrassment, Gulu Archbishop John Baptist Odama has said.

Archbishop Odama was addressing journalists in Gulu town on Monday, October 2.

Archbishop Odama, who also doubles as the chairperson of Acholi Religious Leaders and Peace Initiative ARLP, said amending the Constitution is uncalled for because it is not an urgent need for the country at the moment.

“The President has got a moral duty to clear his reputation from all this in order to leave a legacy of good leadership in Uganda and the world at large,” Archbishop Odama said.

He urged the government to first consider biting issues such poverty, youth unemployment and conflicts, among others, that aren already polarizing the country.

Archbishop Odama who also chairs the Uganda Episcopal Conference, the Supreme leadership of the Catholic Church in Uganda, said if the amendment is required, then the citizens of Uganda have to be consulted because the Constitution belongs to the entire citizenry and not just a few individuals.

Archbishop Odama also said that as religious leaders, they regret the siege of Parliament by security personnel and urge Ugandans to always use dialogue to resolve their conflicts.

“We regret the violence that marred the parliamentary sessions and urge both parties to desist from violence but exercise political maturity, tolerance and embrace dialogue as the best means to resolve their differences,” Archbishop Odama said.

He said the world will definitely judge the 10th Parliament of Uganda very harshly if it makes the mistake of amending Article 102 (b) of the 1995 Constitution for selfish end rather for public good and interests.

The Archbishop also appealed to the public to petition the Constitutional Court to give the interpretation of Article 102 (b) before the Constitution is amended.

“Any amendment that shall be made against a court decision shall be null and void,” Archbishop Odama said.

The Archbishop also said that much as the Constitution sets 75 years as the age cap for persons seeking the Presidency of the country, It is not clear on the fate of someone who attains the age of 75 when he is holding the office of the President.

“Does it mean he has to retire and resign the office of the President or he/she waits to finish their term of office?” Archbishop Odama asked.

The move is seen as being engineered to favour President Museveni who is ineligible to run for the office he currently occupies at the next elections because of the age cap.

 

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