MANAFWA–Majority of NRM leaders in Manafwa district on Tuesday put up a spirited resistance against pleas by State Minister for Environment Mary Goreti Kitutu to have them endorse the lifting of presidential age limit.
The leaders said President Museveni should relinquish power after his current term in order to give the youth he has nurtured chance to lead.
Kitutu who was in a joint consultation meeting with her counterpart Rose Mutonyi Masaba the Bubulo West MP on the amendment of Article 102b, had assured the members that they would each receive Shillings 50,000 after the meeting.
After quietly listening to the minister’s rhetoric of how Uganda endured a history of turmoil and bloodshed in the past regimes, the members who included LC3 chairpersons, sub-county NRM Chairpersons, district councillors and opinion leaders largely spoke against the lifting of presidential age limit with only a few backing it.
The meeting at Manafwa district headquarters nearly exploded into a feast fight as members especially from the district NRM youth league heckled a few individuals who were backing the minister on the repealing of Article 102 (b) of the Constitution.
“We appreciate what President Museveni has done for this country, but amending the constitution in favor of one person will be disastrous for the country, so we do not support the lifting of presidential age limit,” Merab Nambiyo, the secretary for persons with disability in Manafwa district, said.
“Museveni is using money and intimidation on NRM legislators to turn the Constitution in his favour, now this so called consultative meetings is just a mere rubber stamping of what he has already decided,” Julius Musungu, a youth leader from Butiru sub-county, roared.
He said Museveni should address the failure by the NRM party to select its successor other than postponing his stay in power by tilting the constitution.
“President Museveni should nature his successor in NRM otherwise amending the constitution to prolong his stay in power will not help the party,” Musungu emphatically noted.
Tom Mabonga another youth leader at Manafwa district while quoting the Bible said President Museveni should relinquish power after his current term in order to give the youth he has nurtured chance to lead.
“Numbers 8:24 state that a good leader should take on power when he’s 25 and leave at 50 years. So if the holy book is clear, then who is President Museveni to amend our constitution,” Mabonga said.
Paul Wakabenga, the district councilor Bukusu sub-county, asked MPs to present the real views presented by people warning that those will lie before the floor of parliament will face the wrath of voters come 2021.
“These MPs have come with a predetermined position meaning chances are high that they will go and ‘touch it’ in parliament, but for us we are saying that if they touch it, we shall also touch them in 2021,” Wakabenga said amidst cheers from those who were bitterly against the amendment.
The pros also stood their ground
However, much as there were a few among members supporting the lifting of presidential age limit in the Manafwa meeting, those who were behind it equally stood their ground.
Rebbeca Kitui Nasolo, the chairperson Manafwa district women’s league, said President Museveni has in his 30-year reign brought peace and stability which the country is enjoying, adding that women have also been empowered.
“We should ‘touch’ the constitution so that he can stay to steer the country into progress,” Nasolo said.
Minister Kitutu who after sensing fire, excused herself later told journalists that the bitter split and heckling among the NRM leaders in the district was uncalled for but blamed it especially on the youth leaders.
“It is mostly the youth that made the noise but as MPs, we shall go and analyze the issues raised and look at strategies of how to address them,” the minister, who is also Manafwa Woman MP, said.