President Yoweri Museveni has at last appended his signature to the Constitutional Amendment Bill No. 2 2017, commonly known as the ‘Age Limit’ bill.
Don Wanyama, senior presidential press secretary says the president wrote to the speaker of parliament through the clerk.
“We have not yet received official communication as the communications department, but he has assented to the bill,” Wanyama reported.
Parliament on December 10, 2017 overwhelmingly voted in favour of the bill by 317 MPs against 97 to change the Constitution and remove the 75-year age cap on the Presidency.
The MPs also voted to extend the term of MPs from five to seven years.
Linda Nabusayi, the President’s press secretary, confirmed the development, saying Pesident Museveni signed the bill into an Act of Parliament on December 27 before sending communication on December 29, 2017. This, therefore, means that President Museveni, 73, is eligible to run for another term of office come 2021 when his current term expires.
The signing comes amid calls from religious leaders and political activists, urging the President to return the bill to Parliament.
The age limit bill that is now law is a brain child of Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi.
Parliament’s director of communications Chris Obore says the president signed the bill on December 27, just seven days after it was passed by the 10th parliament on the night of December 20.
Now with Museveni’s signature, the Constitution has been effectively amended to remove the presidential age limit caps. Before the amendment, article 102 (b) barred people above 75 and those below 35 years from running for the highest office. The current age limit bill also extends the term of office of parliament from the current five years to seven years.
The bill, however, restores presidential term limits which had been removed in a 2005 constitutional amendment that paved the way for President Museveni, in power since 1986, to contest again after his two five-year terms had expired.
During their Christmas messages, many religious leaders openly opposed to the bill asked President Museveni not to sign the now controversial piece of legislation into law. Its passing on December 20 came at the head of episodes of violence in and outside parliament as security forces roughed up those opposed to the bill, including Members of
Archbishop Odama had said if President Museveni signs the Bill knowing that it was passed without the views of majority Ugandans, he [Museveni] would be tormented by his conscience.
“If what has been passed by Parliament is not the view of the majority citizens, then let him not append his signature because it will later torture his conscience. But if it is the voice of the majority, let him append it,” Archbishop Odama said during an interview with Daily Monitor last Friday.
He said it would not be right for the President to act against his morality.