President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has branded anti age limit protestors who use red ribbons as lumpens’ warning them to take extra care and in case there is any body trying to wage war against the government will not survive.
Museveni revealed this while officiating at the thanks giving ceremony of the Mbarara municipality Member of Parliament, Hon Michael Tusiime.
Tumusiime was giving back to the people of Mbarara for voting him into parliament. At the same function Hon Tusiime said as family they also celebrated fifty years of marriage of his father Mzei Yoramu Gucwamainji and his wife.
Recently, during the ruling NRM’s National Executive Council meeting at State House Entebbe on Friday, President Museveni suggested that a five-year presidential term is too short for a head of state to deliver.
In his nearly five-hour speech, which started shortly before 4pm, Museveni said five years is too short a time for him to concentrate on presidential duties.
“After an election, you spend about one year settling in and before you know it, another electioneering period sets in,” a source quoted Museveni as having said.
With his last term under the current constitutional provisions running out in 2021, Museveni did not suggest how long a presidential term should be. But within the NRM parliamentary caucus, there is talk of stretching it to seven years.
The idea was first floated in 2014 by Nakifuma MP Robert Kafeero Ssekitooleko when he hawked a term extension bill, which was later shot down (See: Why is govt ‘disowning’ its term extension bill, The Observer, March 19, 2014).
Unlike Article 102(b), which is the main focus of the ongoing constitutional amendment process to scrap the age limit for presidential contenders, amending Article 105(1), which sets out the number of years per term, is not that easy.
It is an entrenched provision listed among those laid out in Article 260 that can only be amended through a referendum, not through parliament.
Sub-clause 2 of the article was last controversially amended in 2005 when presidential term limits were scrapped, allowing Museveni to run for a third five-year elective term. In that year, ruling party MPs received Shs 5 million each as they scrapped term limits.
“The age and term limits are artificial impositions in the constitution, they limit the scope of choice of leaders; these are not universally accepted principles of democracy. What matters are regular free and fair elections, free press and the active participation of the people,” Museveni told NEC members.
The NRM NEC is comprised of party leaders such as parliamentary representatives, LC-V chairpersons and municipal mayoral flag bearers.
MPs were, however, excluded from Friday’s meeting since they have already had interactions with Museveni on the subject.
The buses that delivered the NRM leaders to State House left the party headquarters at 11am and upon arrival at the palatial presidential residence, they were served lunch and handed Shs 500,000 each, which left many grumbling.
The grumbling was so pronounced that when Museveni finally walked into the conference hall, it was the first thing he spoke about.
“I have been told that you are not happy, and the source of unhappiness is money,” Museveni said amid wild cheers.
“But you see; there are some things we need to talk about whether we are happy or unhappy. These include the African continent and our country,” Museveni continued, before lecturing them on Uganda’s political history as has become characteristic of him.
He then told them how the age limit removal bill, tabled by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi, came to be, explaining why he did not involve the party’s structures in the preliminary stages.