In 2005, parliament unfortunately voted for the removal of presidential term limits.
Twelve years later, there is widespread speculation of a possible injudicious manoeuvre to remove the age limit cap for presidential candidates.
Amending the Constitution today to lift the presidential age limit would be terrible for all Ugandans, especially youths. Why? Article 102 (b) provides the only remaining safeguard to enable peaceful transition of power.
If this article is amended, violence will be the only alternative for removing presidents with selfish ambitions of lifelong presidencies.
The prospect of violence will harm investor confidence, even for critical sectors that could potentially employ the youth such as that of oil. Why would any Ugandan want this, especially when investor interest in Uganda is still lukewarm?
Since 2012, government has failed to find an investor for Uganda’s proposed oil refinery to be located in Kabaale-Buseruka, Hoima district. Last year, Russian consortium, RT Global Resources, pulled out of the refinery deal. South Korea’s SK Engineering also said “No Sir” to developing the refinery.
There have also been recent reports that the Chinese consortium of China Petroleum Engineering and Construction Corporation (CPECC) that was the preferred contender in constructing the refinery collapsed.
Uganda needs productive sectors to create the much-needed employment for all, including the youth whose unemployment rate stands at a whole 83 per cent.
Moreover, a president who amends a Constitution to lift the age has to rely on political patronage before and after the limits are lifted.
In 2005, there were reports that members of parliament were bribed with Shs 5m to vote for the removal of term limits. Such political patronage is likely to be repeated.
After the presidential age limit is lifted, to reward those who enable him to entrench himself in power, the president will likely create more districts, constituencies and appoint more ministers and presidential advisors.
This patronage will further hamper service delivery and affect the economy in the long run. Nothing good comes with the lifting of the age limit; MPs must reject it.
I am a living example that disability is not inability
I have had a visual impairment since I was four months old when my mother realised changes in my eyes which required immediate medical attention.
Thank God, she saved my life although I faced the nucleation of the first and second eye at the age of eleven months and four years respectively.
My parents and doctors tried to stop this but in vain. This eventually turned me into one of the many people in the whole world with this disability.
I joined the group of people where hands, ears and the mind explain their success and perfection in this world.
In my case, I do not know how my face looks like or how my parents look like. It is my parents and education that always make me happy and confident. For me, disability is neither a curse nor a blessing but a concern for everyone because there is no one who wishes for that kind of life.
I call upon the public to treat people with disabilities as equals because we were all created in God’s image. It is so fascinating to hear that the keyboard of a typewriter was designed by a visually-impaired person.
Also, the construction of tarmac roads was brought on board by a visually impaired man. This encourages and motivates me to work hard no matter my state of life.
I have grown without eyes, studied without eyes, acquired certificates in different fields of education and earned a degree without eyes. I can now read and write with my hands. Who says disability means inability?
Reasons for land bill are unconvinving
The constitutional amendment targeting private land is one of the hottest and most controversial topics in Uganda.
The Constitution Amendment Bill 2017 is already before parliament while another to remove the presidential age limit is in the offing.
Some people have argued that after selling and sharing all government land in their custody, state operatives have now shifted their greed on private land through claims of compulsory acquisition before compensation to speed up government projects.
Others say the bill is meant to weaken Buganda kingdom. Whatever the reasons, this amendment is uncalled for because government has enough money to buy land – what it lacks is the goodwill.
The World Bank has just reported that government has been causing losses in millions of dollars per year because of its inefficiency in implementing infrastructure projects.
It is also reported that government has been constructing roads at a price three times higher than what its neighbours use.
Under such circumstances, it baffles me to hear government crying that some landowners inflate compensation claims. The problem is not Ugandans; it’s NRM.
Dialogue is better than striking
I hate the word ‘strike’. If you have studied at Makerere University before, then you know what I mean.
Let me get to the point: support staff at Makerere University have their grievances and deserve a fair hearing and a long-lasting solution.
But striking shouldn’t always be the solution. I am glad the support staff at Makerere and Kyambogo have suspended their sit-down strike.
Makerere students suffered last year after the president ordered its closure. I think dialogue is the best solution here; otherwise, public universities will only be about striking and being closed and students won’t benefit.
Support staff should remember that the students have been affected enough, especially those at Makerere, and resuming and maintaining their duties is the solution.