Former Forum for Democratic Change president and presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye has said this week's lifting of age limits and extending the MPs' term tenure amounts to the abrogation of the Constitution, and must be resisted.
Besigye said although as opposition, they believe in nonviolent means of changing government, he personally wouldn’t have any problem if any Ugandan chooses to use other means that are violent.
Addressing a press conference at Katonga road yesterday, Besigye said starting January 9, 2018 they will be rolling out campaigns aimed at resisting what he called the subversion of the will of the people.
“A lot of work is going to be undertaken to prepare for that. You must understand that this is protracted struggle and some people don’t realize the kind of progress this struggle has made. A lot of progress has been made; the mindset of Ugandans has changed, they now know the struggle is theirs”, he said.
Besigye said even though the highlight of the amendment was probably the reinstatement of term limits, this he added would have no consequence because of the way it was done.
“You cannot use fraud to achieve good; we now have a worthless Constitution. Anything there is of no value because the way it is removed is the way it can be put back,” Besigye said.
He said Ugandans shouldn’t celebrate the apparent 'milestone' as long as Museveni is still interested in being president as nothing can get in his way.
“Once the sanctity of the Constitution has been overthrown, provisions in there make no meaning. I think anybody would be a fool to celebrate term limits in the Constitution.”
However the four-time presidential candidate said that in principle term limits are good, because they get in the way of an incumbent who wants to use his position to advantage himself.
“Parliament has no power to make them cling to their seats; the power that is abused is the executive power, its money and guns that cause fear. Kenya has had change of leaders but no incumbent has lost power, they only change when the incumbent is not on the paper.
The country that you can say has made a leap is Ghana where the incumbent loses and then hands over power. So the introduction of term limits would have made sense if they said that those who have served two terms shouldn’t serve again,” Besigye said.
Besigye joined a growing section of Ugandans who are criticising the MPs for the amendments, saying it amounted to a coup and subversion of people’s power. He said every Ugandan should join all forms of campaigns to resist what happened.
“The Constitution commands that all citizens of Uganda shall have the right and duty at all times to resist its overthrow. Parliament is perfectly in order to start a campaign provide that all of them are in the answer of the command to restore the effect of the Constitution.”
Besigye added that they will also be supporting all those who will be going to court to resist the amendments. He called on all Ugandans to come together in order to restore the constitutional order.
Speaking at the same press conference Jeema president, Asuman Basalirwa said the ruling party, NRM duped people when they said they were bringing the amendment as an answer to the Supreme court orders and recommendations in the 2016 Amama Mbabazi election petition case.
He said none of the recommendations that the court made were reflected in the bill.
“The amendment in parliament was a fraud. The complaints we made before court in the Amama Mbabazi case had nothing to do with age limit. We have to make choices as a country to confront that fraud,” Basalirwa said.