As the debate on the controversial proposal to scrap the age limit from the Constitution rages, a Cabinet minister has advised opponents of the plan to emulate President Yoweri Museveni and his colleagues who picked guns and fought their way to power.
“If they think that they would take over government by simply staging demonstrations and beating up people, they are joking. Power is fought for and once you get it, consolidate it as NRM is doing,” Mr Abdul Nadduli, the Minister Without Portfolio said.
He told veterans from Masaka sub- region in Masaka Municipality on Friday that when President Museveni who stood on the Uganda Patriotic Movement lost the 1980 elections to Milton Obote’s Uganda Peoples Congress, he identified a few colleagues to start an armed struggle to liberate the country.
He said that even a weak plant like a pawpaw tree cannot be easily uprooted.
He wondered how an unarmed person could hurl stones at an armed security officer and goes unpunished.
He said President Museveni should be allowed to enjoy State House because he has transformed Uganda into a centre of African leadership among other achievements.
“It was President Museveni who spearheaded the creation of legal governments in Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia and South Sudan. If members from the Opposition cannot see that, then it is a pity,” he said.
He said although people who support amending the Constitution to allow everyone to contest for presidency regardless of their age have remained silent, they can as well become more violent to prove their numbers.
Mr Nadduli criticised pro-age limit politicians for making the issue of amending Article 102 (b) of Constitution everyone’s business.
“When it comes to serious matters like this one, only senior citizens like Members of Parliament should be given the opportunity to decide not Primary Six pupils,” Mr Nadduli said.
The article bars people who are above 75 years from contesting for presidency. This implies that if it is not amended, Mr Museveni, 73, would not be on the ballot paper in 2021.
Opponents of the plan say it is calculated to give President Museveni a freehand to rule for life.
Masaka Resident District Commissioner, Mr Joe Walusimbi said the NRM government is trying to consolidate power and cannot create situations that would allow political opponents to grab it.
Rtd Maj Twaha Matovu, who commands the reserve forces in Masaka District said the Constitution must be amended to meet the interests of the combatants who spent years eating grass, uncooked food and spending cold nights in forests while fighting the Obote II regime.