KAMPALA–The Dokolo district Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal says President Museveni has betrayed the good intentions he displayed during the framing of the 1995 Constitution.
Ogwal who was a member of the constituent assembly that debated the Constitution notes that Museveni made tangible contributions in making sure that they shaped the Constitution in the best interests of Ugandans.
“When we were making the Constitution, we thought that the President had good intentions since he was part of the constitution making process,” she disclosed.
Museveni announced last week during an NRM parliamentary caucus meet that he has endorsed a bill fronted by Igara West Raphael Magyezi to amend article 102(b) and remove presidential age limits thereby allowing him to potentially extending his rule indefinitely.
A controversial amendment in 2005 lifted term limits allowing President Museveni to run again in 2006, 2012 and 2016.
Ogwal says she never anticipated the President would aim to cling to power by tinkering with the Constitution he helped shape.
“We never at any one time anticipated that he would turn round and remove the age limit, turn round and remove the term limit,” she regretted.
When quizzed on why the Constituent Assembly did not ensure that constitutional amendments do not benefit a sitting President, Ogwal said she trusted the President not to go back on his word.
“If you are going to marry my daughter how do I know you are a thief? Until later you prove to me that you are a thief I will not know,” she offered an analogy to drive her point home.
Cecilia Ogwal has condemned a plan to payout billions of shillings to MPs in order to consult on the age limit bill.
The Parliamentary Commission an organ that runs parliamentary affairs and is chaired by the Speaker is reportedly sourcing for over Shs9b in order to fund the consultations.
Ogwal who is a member of the commission notes that this is waste of money and queries the urgency of the age limit amendment.
She says more important bills like the Bio safety bill 2017 did not attract any consultation funding and yet the NRM is reportedly pushing for an estimated Shs20m per MP to consult their constituents on the age limit bill.
“Did you consult the people about GMO?” she wondered. “You never did and that is more important, it is going to change the destiny of agriculture in this country,” she added.
Ogwal believes the age limit issue does not warrant any expenditure on consultations since the amendment is unnecessary noting that the issue was settled in 1995.
The NRM parliamentary caucus vice chairperson Solomon Silwany defends the need for consultations saying the political situation in the country is not the same as 22 years ago when the constitution was framed.
“You cannot say it is not important, I think it is important to consult, things change, situations change and society is growing everyday so there is no way you can say that it was already consulted on in 1995 when I was in Primary Seven,” he argued.
The parliamentary commission is yet to release funds to the MPs to enable them consult. Ogwal says the issue has not been discussed by the commission and reveals the next meeting of members is on the 30th of this month.