KAMPALA–The sponsor of the age limit bill Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi has noted that he will appeal to the government Chief Whip over MPs on the legal committee who have vowed to oppose his bill.
He says that several MPs who are against his proposed amendments will not listen to him with an open mind. He notes that they have already shown a conflict of interest and will be biased in the committee.
A number of MPs on the legal committee have already made it known that they are opposed to the Constitutional amendment No.2 Bill 2017 which seeks to among others remove the upper age cap of 75 for presidential aspirants.
Those MPs on the committee who have been vocal against the proposed amendment are Ssemujju Ibrahim, Mathias Mpuuga, Monicah Amoding, Adeke Anna Ebaju, Muhammed Nsereko and Medard Lubega Sseggona.
The committee chaired by West Budama MP Jacob Oboth Oboth ruled last week that the Kyaka South MP Jackson Kafuzi would not be allowed to vote on the final report on the bill.
This was because Kafuzi seconded Magyezi’s motion seeking leave to draft the bill. On the 31st of this month the legal committee will begin hearing from various stakeholders on the proposed amendments including Raphael Magyezi.
“So if you are a member of the committee on legal and parliamentary affairs and you want to listen to me and you are saying whatever you want to say I will not support this, then you are already someone who has already shown interest and you should step aside,” Magyezi reasoned.
The legal committee is also set to traverse the five major regions of the country to consult with sections of the public on the bill. The committee will use up a staggering 715m shillings in its sojourn.
Besides this expenditure each MP in the 10th parliament is set to receive 20m shs to assist them in consultations on this bill in their respective constituencies. MPs are gearing up to receive these funds which are currently being sourced by the parliamentary commission since the expenditure was not appropriated in the budget.
The MPs opposed to the age limit amendment have branded the funds due to be given to MPs as a bribe from the president.
The age limit debate has polarized the nation with those against the bill clashing violently with security forces deployed to quash any protests against the amendment which has received the blessing of the cabinet.
The parliamentary commission has confirmed that they are looking for the money to give out to the MPs to aid them in their consultations on the bill.
The Manjiya county MP John Baptist Nambeshe says if a supplementary funding is being processed to cover the cost it will be through the influence of the president who stands to benefit from the amendment.
“The sponsor or the major beneficiary of this age limit from the constitution could be stage managing this from behind the curtains because it was never budgeted for,” he stated.
The rebel MPs argue that legislators have a consultation allowance handed out to them twice monthly which is sufficient to cater for the age limit consultations.
The Buyaga west MP Barnabas Tinkasimire says the 20 million shillings is a waste of money for a one time consultation for a matter that is set to benefit only one man. He says it is unfortunate that other critical bills like the constitutional amendment on land did not attract such funding.
“Every month we receive funds to enable us to go two times in a month in my own opinion that is sufficient enough for us to go and do consultations,” he asserted.
But the deputy chairperson of the NRM caucus defends the allocation of 20m shs per MP noting that any important amendment to the constitution requires legislators to consult extensively.
“Marriage and divorce bill, members of parliament were sent to consult, we have had many issues on constitutional amendments they send you to the village because your constituents have an opinion on that so you can’t pass any serious amendment without going back to the population,” he stressed.