Tooro elders under their umbrella association, Toro Elders Forum (TEF), have decried the manner in which the age limit issue is being handled. The elders have also condemned the brutal force with which police and other security organs are handling citizens opposed to the removal of the age limit provision from the Constitution
In a letter dated October 10, and signed by Prof. Edward Rugumayo on behalf of the forum, the elders contend that removing the age limit is a luxurious issue that could be debated in future but is not a priority for Ugandans.
The association that comprises men and women of integrity recommends that the bill be immediately dropped.
“TEF takes upon itself to provide guidance and valuable reflections that impact on responsible citizenship. To this goal, TEF while maintaining its neutral stance, listens to views of people from all walks of life, and is keen at educating as well as shaping its young people to become responsible citizens,” the letter reads in part.
The elders said they saddened by the events that unfolded in Parliament when MPs engaged in fist fights in a move to block the bill from being tabled.
“The mayhem it caused especially in our Parliament is as if it is a DO or DIE matter for some people,” the letter reads in part.
The elders said they were disappointed with the passion which has so far been invested in the matter at the cost of sidelining more important issues such as poverty, disease, famine, unemployment and illiteracy, among others.
“We appreciate the fact that Uganda is a young democracy with very fragile institutions. Consequently we entertain founded fears of, and anxiety about what we are about to witness; a decline of patriotism, a tenet that ushered in the NRM era, and a fall into the trap of political populism and patronage,” the letter reads in part.
The elders said young democracies are delicate, but can be secured by selfless and accountable leaders who adhere to constitutionalism, the respect of democratic institutions, and allowing the growth of credible civil society with a strong voice and an open space for free expression of ideas/views even when those views are not palatable.
They called for tolerance towards people whose voices might be different from others’, irrespective of their numbers or might.
“… We call upon political actors, on whichever side you are, to exercise maximum restraint and engage in peaceful debates and meaningful dialogue,” the letter reads in part.
The elders urged elected leaders from Tooro to speak for the people they represent and not for themselves and direct their energies on issues that most touch on our livelihood and nation building: reconciliation and peace building, improvement of health services, better and meaningful education, attracting genuine investments, creating employment, finding markets for our products, sustainable and non-discriminating security for all Ugandans.
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