The ruling party, National Resistance Movement (NRM) has blocked its members from leaving the country and Kampala city until after the age limit bill has been passed in Parliament.
The largely unpopular bill seeks to have Article 102(b) of the Constitution scrapped, thereby dropping the 35-75 age limits for presidential aspirants. President Yoweri Museveni is 73 and would not qualify to run in 2021 if Article 102(b) stands.
The order not to travel out of the country was reportedly issued by President Museveni yesterday during the NRM caucus meeting. NRM needs 2/3 majority (291 MPs) in Parliament or about 66 per cent of the 436 lawmakers to pass the controversial age limit amendment bill.
"Every clause of that bill requires a quorum of 2/3 of all members so if we let them travel, we may fail to raise the quorum," Robina Nabbanja (Kakumiro woman), a Parliamentary commissioner and one of the key promoters of the bill told The Observer.
All MPs who had travelled have since been called back and security at Entebbe airport has been ordered to turn away any NRM MPs seeking to fly out of the country. According to Joseph Muyomba Kasozi, the NRM caucus general secretary, in the coming days, the MPs will also be stopped from going out of Kampala city.
"We want the bill passed before Christmas and if you let them go to their constituencies, we may fail to raise the number," Kasozi said.
Burahya County MP Margaret Muhanga also NRM parliamentary caucus spokesperson accused two NGOs, Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) and Action Aid of funding NRM MPs out of the country so as to deny the party the 2/3 majority.
NRM MPs PAID
While the NRM caucus leadership denies giving any money to MPs to soften their stance against the bill, an MP from Buganda has confirmed being on the list of beneficiaries.
"I didn't go to Kololo last night but I am picking mine from the Government Chief Whip's office," the MP said.
The majority of the recipients are MPs thought to have changed their position on the bill due to pressure from their constituents.