KAMPALA–The NRM MPs opposed to the lifting of the age limit have been kicked out of the NRM caucus meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister.
The MPs who have voiced opinions against the age limit bill had taken their seats at the meeting attended by President Museveni when the government Chief Whip raised an objection to their attendance.
She noted that the NRM MPs opposed to the lifting of the age limit had to be asked to leave the meeting at the OPM since the party was going to discuss strategies and modalities of popularizing the age limit bill and that she was not comfortable sitting in the same meeting with them.
The MPs who were asked to leave are Theodore Sekikubo, John Baptist Nambetsye, Barnabas Tinkasimire, Mbwatekamwa Gaffa, Patrick Nsamba, Sylvia Rwabwogo and James Kaberuka. Those who were named but were absent are Monica Amoding and Alex Ruhunda.
The MPs addressed a press conference at Parliament immediately after being kicked out where they admonished the party for being intolerant to alternative views.
The Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Sekikubo asserted that every sense of reason had now left the party.
“They have set the standard – you are either with us or against us, those who are not with us go out,” he said.
He admonished the Chief Whip and the President for summarily dismissing them without a hearing or disciplinary process, noting that the president whom he had known for being tolerant and engaging all shades of opinion was now engaging in acts that were treacherous to the party and the country.
“None of us has been summoned before the NRM disciplinary committee so we have been summarily dismissed from NRM.”
He stated that he raised the matter of a six page letter they had drafted to the president highlighting the fact that a matter as important as the age limit required the input of the top organs of the party right down to the grassroots, and that the cabinet has abdicated its role of fronting constitutional reforms, he stated that the president acknowledged receipt of the letter but noted he would respond to it at a later date and asked the rebel MPs to leave.
The Buyaga West MP Barnabas Tinkasimire said the President was now presiding over an arbitrary way of running the party and the country.
He said the need for consultations on the bill was useless since the party was deciding for Ugandans and moving ahead with making sure the bill is passed regardless of what the people want.
While brandishing a copy of the NRM manifesto, Tinkasimire noted that instead of implementing his promises, the President was engaging in abrogating the Constitution to prolong his stay in power. He stated that 30 years were enough for the President to make an impact.
“By 2021 you will have finished 35 years and those are more than enough for any reasonable President to make impact on society,” Tinkasimire said while sending a direct message to President Museveni.
James Acidri, the Maracha east MP, was not one of those MPs who were asked to leave but decided to walk out in protest against the treatment meted out to his fellow NRM members.
“I don’t think I can go into a meeting where you are not allowed to express your opinion on the subject matter,” he stated.
The Kassanda North MP Patrick Nsamba said the bill is so unpopular that everyone who expresses an opinion against it is ostracized immediately. He pointed to Magyezi’s objection to the composition of the legal committee as evidence that the party wants to kick out of parliament all MPs who stand in the way of the bills enactment.
“So today the arbitrary dismissal explains to us the intolerance the impatience and these are just symptoms of a larger problem because everyone is drunk with power,” Manjiya county MP John Bpatist Nambeshe remarked.
The Kabarole woman MP Sylvia Rwabwogo stated that a number of NRM MPs have conflicting opinions on the bill but due to fear of those in power, they have resorted to remain silent.