Opposition MPs Issue Schedule for Age Limit Consultations

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In short
The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Winnie Kiiza, has issued a schedule for nationwide consultations on the proposed presidential age limit removal. The first phase of the programme that begins tomorrow in Kireka and Nakawa areas, will run until the 26th of October and will cover areas of Kampala Central, Northern and Eastern Uganda as well as West Nile region.

The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Winnie Kiiza, has issued a schedule for nationwide consultations on the proposed presidential age limit removal.
 
Last month Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi tabled the Constitution (Amendment) Bill No.2 of 2017 which seeks, among others, to repeal Article 102(b) of the Constitution. The Article caps the presidential age at the minimum of 35 and maximum of 75 years. 
Members of Parliament have already started consulting voters, seeking their views on the bill which has received hostile comments from the opposition, civil society, religious leaders and a section of legislators on the government side.

While addressing journalists at parliament today, Kiiza, who represents Kasese District, said the consultations kicking off tomorrow will be conducted by the whole team of opposition legislators, throwing their strength behind the area MPs of the respective constituencies being visited.
                                                                                         
Kiiza says the opposition MPs will also be accompanied by their NRM counterparts opposed to the amendment. She was flanked by a section of opposition MPs including the Kalungu West MP Joseph Ssewunga, Nakaseke South MP Lutamaguzi Semakula, Kyotera Woman MP Robinah Ssentongo, and National Female Youth MP Anna Adeke Ebaju among others.
 
The first phase of the programme that begins tomorrow in Kireka and Nakawa areas, will run until the 26th of October and will cover areas of Kampala Central, Northern and Eastern Uganda as well as West Nile region.
 
Places to be visited in Kampala include Kalerwe, Kasubi, Nakulabye, Kyengera, Ndeeba and Kibuli. After these, the opposition team will embark on upcountry trips with Tororo, Mbale, Soroti, Lira, Kitigum, Koboko and Arua lined up for visits.
 
With this program, LOP Kiiza appealed to the Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura to desist from dispersing consultations by MPs opposed to the lifting of the presidential age limit.
 
She recounted last week's events when police officers dispersed lawful gatherings organized by MPs Nsamba Patrick Oshabe representing Kassanda North and others in their constituencies.
 
Kiiza said that when the Speaker adjourned the House last week, she advised legislators to go and consult their constituents on the 'age limit' bill and that their consultations should instead be provided security by police since they are in order.
 
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She accused police of trying to disrupt the work of parliament by barring MPs from addressing their constituents.
 
She threatened that if this goes on; they shall see how to invoke other laws to bring IGP Kayihura to order.
 
The age limit bill is now before parliament's legal committee for consideration within the period of 45 days.
 
President Yoweri Museveni could become the first direct beneficiary of the proposed amendment, should the upper age cap be removed. At 73, the president is not eligible for re-election in 2021 as he will be above 75 years.
 
Meanwhile, LOP Kiiza revealed that the issue of providing consultation money to MPs by the Parliamentary Commission had not yet been discussed. Reports indicate that parliament plans to avail 20 million Shillings to each MP to help them consult in their respective constituencies.
 
Kiiza, who is a member of the Parliamentary Commission, noted that MPs are already adequately facilitated every month for consultations and that the reported move to provide them more facilitation is a waste of tax payer's money.
 
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Speaking to URN, Usuk County MP Peter Ogwang, also a Parliamentary Commissioner, acknowledged that the Commission had not yet discussed the matter to provide MPs with money but noted that it was important for the money to be provided.
 
He revealed that they are looking at seeking a supplementary budget from the Ministry of Finance to cater for the consultation money since it was not budgeted for. He however declined to reveal the amount of money parliament seeks saying that they are yet to zero on the amount.
 
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Ogwang argued that the money provided to MPs for monthly consultations is not sufficient enough.
 
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About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.