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Tension, drama as MPs debate age limit Bill

Tension, tempers, drama, insults and disorder dominated Tuesday's plenary session as an unprecedented number of legislators debated the controversial 'presidential age limit' Bill.
The Bill presented to parliament by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi seeks to among others amend Article 102(b) that caps the presidential age limit between 35 and 75 years.
From morning to evening, the House was still full to capacity with no MP showing impatience to move out of the chambers to attend to other work like it has been the case in the past.
By 6:30pm, the opposition side was still coloured red and the government side also remained fully packed with the cabinet bench unusually filled to capacity. The attendance board in the chambers by this time displayed that out of the 451 MPs, 391 MPs had signed in while 379 MPs were present.
Parliament will require 290 MPs voting in support of the proposed amendment by roll call and tally at both second and third reading of the Bill for it to pass.
The situation in the House was tense as MPs debated the age limit Bill
With not much business handled in the morning session after issues of invasion of places of worship were raised, the afternoon sitting started debating the Bill with one MP after the other presenting the views of their voters on the Bill.
Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga allocated each MP four minutes to debate. Some MPs were booed by colleagues because of not being in agreement with their views while others received hugs, thumbs up and applauds for their submissions.  
MPs sitting on the government side continuously stood up shouting every time their colleague stood to support the amendment and this was the same for the opposition side.
Reagan Okumu (Aswa County)

Okumu said that the debate was to define the future of Uganda warning that they could not amend a constitutional provision without testing it or specifically for an individual.

Okumu in a bitter tone told parliament that the people of the north were ready to secede from Uganda - threatening that there is no way they are going to allow to be sat on by the majority.

"I want to assure you, we shall secede from this country. We have the resources to get our own economy. Let us not just argue that we have the numbers, we have a responsibility as leaders. Politics and democracy is about consensus and not the majority otherwise the nation is to break," said Okumu.
Musa Ecweru (Amuria County)

Contrary to the views of Okumu with whom they come from the northern region, Ecweru attacked Okumu that he should not use parliament as a platform for intimidation and that Uganda was to remain together.

"The question of secession is in the mind of the person who said it. He is in dreamland because Uganda will remain one, this country will never break up and it will stand together, nobody can come and intimidate us," Ecweru asserted as he received applause from the government side.

With these statements, Okumu walked back on the floor pointing rudely at Ecweru and requesting Speaker Kadaga to allow him respond to Ecweru but Kadaga said the member should be left to speak out.

Ecweru then said that he was given authority by his voters to support the amendment of Article 102(b) since in Amuria, age is synonymous to wisdom.
Sam Lyomoki (Workers)

Away from this bitter exchange, the mood in the House further shifted as Workers' MP Sam Lyomoki took to the floor and prayed that Members of Parliament get wisdom to make history by rejecting the removal of the presidential age limits.
Sam Lyomoki praying to God to grant MPs wisdom
While he prayed, the state minister for Lands Persis Namuganza moved to dramatically stop him only for Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo to stop her as he stood in guard of Lyomoki to protect him so he could carry on with the prayer.

Lyomoki's praying was unfortunately cut off after the 4 minutes he had been allocated elapsed.  
Asamo Hellen (Eastern region PWDs)
The representative of the People with Disabilities (PWDs) told parliament that she carried out 5 consultations in the eastern region and that her voters told her to support the amendment of Article 102(b).

"The power to vote lies with the people of Uganda. It is the people to vote out the president or vote them in. President Museveni did not bring himself on that seat, it is the people that brought him," said Asamo.
"Persons with disabilities support the removal of presidential age limit and the entire age limit bill. PWDs are tired of being called for elections all the time; a 7 year term for will save us", she said.
Bright Rwamirama (Isingiro)

Rwamirama told parliament that he supported the amendment of Article 102(b) since it was to cure inconsistencies in the Constitution.

He noted that Article 1 of the Constitution gives powers to the people on deciding who to govern them and how. He however says that Article 102 (b) departs from this provision by giving with one hand and take away with another hand. 

"The people of Isingiro empowered me to speak on their behalf that we support the amendment. I also oppose the reinstatement of term limits and allow people to decide," said Rwamirama.
Lilly Adong (Nwoya Woman)

The Nwoya Woman MP also took to the floor to tell parliament that her voters sent her with strict instructions that Article 102(b) should not be touched. 

"We love President Museveni, but we should let him go, let him rest. Magyezi said that the Article is discriminatory but all other qualifications set for presidency are also discriminatory," said Adong.
Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Kyadondo East)

The musician turned politician told parliament that he had a rare opportunity of traversing the country and that Ugandans are saying the Constitution should not be amended because they want to avoid a life president.

"I stand in defence of the minority report which in my opinion carries the views of Ugandans and therefore the majority report. We are mandated to enact laws for peace, development and good governance of Uganda. We have the opportunity to make or break our country," said Kyagulanyi.


+5 #1 gwok 2017-12-20 01:49
Mr. Okumu may be just about right about the mood in the north.

Mr. Ecweru must be aware that the "true north" will define that cleverage line for themselves. If Mr. Okumu sells that idea successfully to the the Ganda too, then we are heading for a very interesting new future.

[Uganda without the Ganda in it never existed. Personally, I contend that without the Ganda in it, Uganda will automatically cease to exist in the form that we know today].
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-4 #2 fkyyyyyy 2017-12-20 08:36
Hehehehehe I like the way opposition MPs are trying to outdo themselves with their katemba of "opposing" amendment of 102(b).

Did you see Otto diving to grab the microphone. hehehehehe - very comic.
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+1 #3 Apollo 2017-12-20 10:02
The Age Limit Debate. If decided in favor of the people of Uganda, peace and harmony will reign.

If decided against the people of Uganda, disharmony and resistance will reign. Apartheid South Africa, with its very well resourced Police force, failed to contain an enraged population.

Like David in the Bible, the mighty Apartheid Government was floored by a stone throwing population.

Their targets were soft and in places the mighty Police could not reach or cover effectively. When vehicles were routinely repaired and windshields replaced, it became apparent to the Oppressor that this had to end.

The rest is history. The Parliament needs to be reminded that this is decision that should be made in favor of the population or it may have to prepare for 'people power'.

All signs indicate that a dull and docile population belongs to the past.
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-1 #4 Musinguzi Bruno 2017-12-20 13:13
What is there to stop the article from being tinkled? At the end of the day it comes again to the numbers
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0 #5 Tim 2017-12-20 15:53
I sometimes wonder when people say NRM has numbers to change the constitution!

Are they only talking about the numbers in parliament or in the population?

We all saw what was happening until they started manipulating the whole exercise by meeting only the yellows and in small rooms!
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-1 #6 Phalanch 2017-12-20 16:10
Pictures don't lie, Take a good look at these cowards, thieves, sycophants, corrupt beings . all guilty as charged of their actions .

As Hon Odongo Otto demonstrates the confidence of his right thinking , A Hero, A True Nationalist and Freedom fighter all combined in one brave heart . Uganda will always be proud of You . Mr Honable
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0 #7 sympathy Niwagaba 2017-12-21 08:50
our members of Parliament! it's high time you saved our country, kabafunzaki pliz ! we people of Rukiga are watching you
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