Police in Fort Portal is holding Democratic Party deputy president, also Uganda’s representative in the 3rd East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), representing Uganda Mr Mukasa Mbidde over holding an illegal assembly.
He was arrested together with the party Secretary General, Mr. Gerald Siranda at post office as they addressed journalists at 12:00pm about the planned amendment of the Constitution.
Police say the leaders were arrested for holding an illegal assembly. Lydia Tumushabe, the Rwenzori region police spokesperson, confirmed the arrest of the DP party leaders, adding that they have been charged with holding illegal assembly. Meanwhile, security in the district has been tightened with police vehicles patrolling the area.
Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko said they will go to the gym as they prepare to fight in Parliament when the matter is tabled.
“You will not read that document. We shall tear it,” Nsereko said.
Other NRM legislators blocking the project include Kumi Woman MP Monica Amoding, James Acidri, Felix Okot Ogong and Fred Turyamuhweza.
But the agitators like Evelyn Anite, the State minister for Investment and Koboko Municipality MP, said they will not be intimidated because they have support of the army.
But the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has distanced itself from Anite’s remarks with
UPDF publicist Brig. Richard Karemire saying Anite cannot speak for the army.
Speaking on radio, The Rwenzori region police spokesperson Lydia Tumushabe says the suspects are have been charged with holding illegal assembly.
Kabarole district police commander, Mr Musa Tibakirana said, “We got information since Thursday that the Kogikwatako team is around and wants to demonstrate in Fort Portal ahead of the Empango celebrations and even go to King Oyo’s palace, so we are ready for them”
Security has been tightened in Fort Portal town with police deployment and patrol cars on almost all the streets following reports of a planned demonstration by the DP members.
Some members of Parliament championing the removal of the presidential age limit from the constitution say they are ready for the consequences of their actions.
On Tuesday, NRM legislators overwhelmingly agreed to start a process for the amendment of Article 102 (b) of the Constitution which caps the presidential age at between 35 and 75 years. At least 271 MPs have now endorsed a proposal for a Private Members Bill seeking to open this up.
Under the current provision, President Yoweri Museveni would not be eligible to contest for the Presidency in 2021, when Ugandans return to the polls. Born in 1944, Museveni who has ruled Uganda for more than 30 years will hit the limit before the next presidential election. However, the plan mooted by NRM legislators would allow Museveni to contest for the presidency at 77.
This is the first time that government-leaning MPs have officially come up with a position on the matter, though most of them have been promoting it individually.
The move evokes memories of 12 years ago when the 7th Parliament voted, on September 30, 2005, to amend Article 105 of the constitution to remove the two-term limit for the president.
Opposition members of parliament and those opposed to the removal of age limit, claim they are going to disorganise the house, and fight the process. The MPs have also vowed to mobilise masses to isolate MPs supporting the amendment.
While addressing a press conference today, 18 NRM MPs claimed they were not threatened by the opposition. They say it is an honour to be fought and attacked for promoting equality.
Usuk County MP Peter Ogwang, one of the main proponents of the age limits removal, claims he will be glad to die fighting for the removal of the provision.
He says he does not fear to give the opposition his address, in case they want to fight him.