Ruling NRM Members of Parliament are considering amending the Constitution to extend their term and that of the President to seven years. Articles 77 and 105 of the Constitution provide for a five-year term for both MPs and the President.
Sources who attended the closed-door meeting meant to garner support for the contentious Age Limit Amendment Bill say the Parliamentary committee on Legal Affairs has already included the proposal of extension in its report which is expected to be presented on the floor this week.
“The Committee has received views from many people saying the five-year term is not enough. Even the President is in favour of the extension for effective service delivery,” a source said.
The Caucus was reportedly briefed on the Legal Affairs committee report content by committee member Hon Gaster Mugoya.
A seven-man committee, including the Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana; Gomba Woman MP, Robinah Rwakojjo, Ajuri County MP, Denis Hamson Obua and Mugoya was set up by the Caucus to study the case of the change of the law to take effect in this term.
The committee reported back that the current law is silent on extension of tenure being retrospective (can take effect in the current term) and advised that the current MPs can benefit from the amendment.
Any change or amendment of the above articles is not expected to be retrospective; in other words, taking effect in the current government, but rather prospective; that is, taking effect in the in the next elected government. Members, however, unanimously agreed that in the event that the amendment takes place, it should take immediate effect
The tenures of MPs and the President are entrenched in the Constitution and can only be decided by the voters through a referendum. MPs only have the power to extend the election exercise and only by a period of six months in case of any emergency in the country.
Articles 77 (3) and 77 (b) dictates thus the tenure of Parliament.
“(3) The term of Parliament shall be five years from the date of its first sitting after a general election.”
“(4) Where there exists a state of war or a state of emergency which would prevent a normal general election from being held, Parliament may, by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of all members of Parliament, extend the life of Parliament for a period not exceeding six months at a time.”
Meanwhile article 105(1) dictates the tenure of the president.
“(1) A person elected President under this Constitution shall, subject to clause (3) of this article, hold office for a term of five years.”
The Caucus is, however, conscious of the legal consequence and already anticipating court battles in case the tenures of MPs and Museveni is extended.