The planned amendment of the 1995 Constitution is illegitimate unless it made under a new political environment that would transit Uganda to a new leader, former Presidential candidate Col. Dr Kizza Besigye has said.
Dr Kizza Besigye, the FDC flag-bearer in the 2016 presidential election says Ugandans will resist any attempts by the president to rely on Parliament to lift presidential age limits.
Parliament can remove the restriction on age limit with a two thirds majority, which allows anyone above the age of 75 to contest the presidency.
Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko revealed to NTV on Monday that he is leading a group of MPs who are working towards defeating any attempt of amending the constitution to scrap the Presidential age limit.
Kizza Besigye says Ugandans will not watch as the president manipulates Parliament to lift the age limit. He adds that the time is now for Ugandans to know that President Museveni is after the life presidency.
The 1995 Constitution bars any person above the age of 75 to contest for the Presidency. If Parliament amends the Constitution to get rid of the age limit, President Museveni who is now 72 will be eligible to contest again in 2021.
Besigye says it will not come as a surprise if Parliament bows to the whims of an imperial presidency to lift the age limit because the ruling NRM party has co-opted institutions like Parliament, which should be independent.
Dr Besigye told journalists in Kampala on Tuesday that the Constitution Review process should take place under a new political environment not the present political environment managed by the National Resistance Movement.
“We shall not be duped to start telling Parliament do this or do that. Parliament has no business in this; the current Parliament,” he said. “The Constitution Commission of [Gen Kahinda] Otafiire and his friends has no business in this.”
General Otafiire, the Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister recently hinted that he would set up a committee that would collect views from Ugandans whether Article 102 B of the Constitution that bars Ugandans above 75 years from contesting for presidency should be amended.
President Yoweri Museveni will be 76 by 2021 and the current effort of amending the provision is seen as a ploy by his supporters to enable him contest for a fifth elective term. He ascended to power after an armed struggled in 1986.
“That is the message. Let’s work for a transition. Not to vote this way or that way because you will be giving them an avenue to make the decision one way or another- when you know it’s an illegitimate process,” Dr Besigye, a four time presidential candidate said.
He said the transition requires leadership from all corners including religious leaders, civil servants and members of the armed forces.
According to him, Ugandans must earnestly take the destiny of their country in their hands and the manipulation of the armed forces should stop.
Dr Besigye said members of the armed forces take an oath to protect the country and the Constitution not the regime.
“We are simply inviting people in the armed services, in the security services, to stand with the people of Uganda and not with the regime,” he said. “If the regime is sending you in ways that actually subvert your oath, you have a duty to resist it,” he said.
He said the current regime has the ability to create all kinds of political manoeuvres and gimmicks to portray an image that Ugandans are participating in democratic and popular processes.
Dr Besigye further noted that when Idi Amin wanted to be declared life president, he organised some Ugandans who declared him “because he had done so many good things for Uganda.”
He said President Museveni waged an armed struggle against a government which had an elected Parliament.
“If he [Museveni] had views, why didn’t he pass them through Sam Kuteesa, who was his MP,” he asked.
Dr Besigye added that Ugandans have the capacity to change government using non-violent methods which means were used to defeat colonialism.
“Colonialism was defeated by non-violent struggles. So, how can we fail to defeat the children of colonialism? When violence is used; power changes from one violent group to another violent group not to the population,” he added.