Referendum calls surge as NRM sits tomorrow to decide on age limit bill

Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago at Nagalama Police to stand surety for Dr Kizza Besigye. Photo by Raymond Mayanja.

KAMPALA–As NRM party top organ the Central Executive Committee is preparing to meet its chairman, President Yoweri Museveni, tomorrow over the age limit bill, some senior party members want the issue to be resolved through a referendum.

According to Ofwono Opondo, the deputy party spokesperson, Museveni will meet CEC members tomorrow at 10am, at State House.

But highly placed sources revealed to PML Daily that out of 30 CEC members, only six senior party members are against amending Article 102(b) of the Constitution to lift the age limit.

And the six members want the public to decide on the matter through a referendum.

“Of course, the President has decided to convene tomorrow’s meeting after making a well calculated move. He knows that few people are opposing the age limit. I bet the referendum issue will be rejected. The majority CEC members who are supporting are helpless, hoping that the President will help them financially,” a senior party member revealed.

Among the senior party leaders who have come up to oppose the lifting of age limit include Brig. Mataayo Kyaligonza, Uganda’s ambaddasor to Burundi; Godfrey Nyakana, former Kampala Central division mayor and Gaddafi Nassur, the vice chairperson NRM youth league.

Whatever CEC will endorse tomorrow, it will be the party’s position and the party secretary general Justine Lumumba is expected to table those views to the Parliamentary legal committee, which is currently handling the lifting of Presidential age limit.

Lumumba is slated to appear before the committee on November 2. The Parliamentary legal committee has also invited former Presidential candidates Dr. Kizza Besigye and Amaama Mbabazi to air their views on the matter.
Besigye, however, declined to appear before the committee.

Some party members complain
Some party chairmen are not happy with what they termed as the top to bottom approach the President is using to address the party on the age limit issue.

Salim Uhuru, the party chairperson Kampala Central, said the best way would have been to involve all the party structures.

“Personally, I have not been consulted, so how will I popularize the lifting of age limit? Some of us who are supporting NRM party are living in fear because the population seems not to be in support of age limit. Tomorrow, CEC members should save us and advocate for referendum,” Uhuru argued.

Lifting the age limit has become a contentious issue. Currently with opposition legislators are organizing rallies, while NRM MPs are meeting local leaders.

Brig. Matayo Kyaligonza is one of the CEC members reportedly opposed to the lifting of the age limit. File photo.

Meanwhile, at a rally organized yesterday by Makindye East MP Ibrahim Kasozi to consult his voters on the controversial age limit bill, Police arrested some locals, prompting Kasozi and his supporters to try to storm Kabalagala Police station, to demand their release.

Before reaching the Police station, security agents intercepted them, by firing bullets in the air and teargas. Kasozi was arrested together with some local councillors.

In a related development, Besigye, Patrick Amuriat Oboi, the FDC presidential candidate and Ingrid Turinawe, the party mobiliser are still detained at Nagalama Police Station. They were arrested in Rukungiri district, as they were heading to attend campaigns for Amuriat.

This morning, the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and Kawempe South MP, Mubarak Munyagwa visited Nagalama, to offer to stand surety for Besigye and his group but their request was denied.

DP goes to court
The Democratic Party, the oldest political party in the country, decided to run to the High court to challenge the decision taken by the Speaker of Parliament to suspend 25 legislators, opposing the lifting of Presidential age limit.

Alex Waiswa, the deputy party spokesperson filed the case, arguing that suspending the legislators contravenes with the rules and procedures, governing the Parliamentary sittings.



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