Rugunda Cautions Religious Leaders on Age-Limit Talk

3032 Views Kanungu, Uganda

In short
His comments come at the backdrop of statements made by religious leaders in opposition to a proposal to scrap presidential age limits from the constitution. The current constitution caps the presidential age at 75. However, Parliament is considering a bill for an amendment that would lift the cap.

Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has cautioned religious leaders against politicking and taking sides in the ongoing presidential age limit debate. Dr Rugunda says lately, religious leaders have abandoned their core mandate of preaching about peace and love to the citizens and resorted to condemning political beliefs.

His comments come at the backdrop of statements made by religious leaders in opposition to a proposal to scrap presidential age limits from the constitution. The current constitution caps the presidential age at 75. However, Parliament is considering a bill for an amendment that would lift the cap.

The amendment, as presented by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi, could make President Yoweri Museveni eligible to contest for another term of office. At 73, Museveni would be ineligible to contest for the presidency in 2021, when his current term ends.

But several Bishops, among them, Robert Muhiirwa Akiiki of Fort Portal Catholic Diocese and Reuben Kisembo Amooti of the Anglican diocese of Ruwenzori, have come out openly to oppose the amendment and consistently urged leaders to protect the constitution which they swore to defend.

"The word of God must not be played with. The leaders of this country must not joke with the Bible. They held a bible in their right hand and swore to defend the constitution," Bishop Muhiirwa said in his a recent sermon at Namugongo Marty's Shrine. Bishop Muhiirwa also cautioned against altering the constitution to fit desires of an individual.

Other priests, among them Bishop Dan Zoreka from Kinkizi Diocese and Rev Fr Gaetano Batanyenda, the parish priest of Kitanga Catholic Church in Kabale diocese have come out openly to oppose the constitutional amendment.

However, Dr Rugunda says that such statements not only divert people but also create confusion among believers.
 
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Rugunda was speaking during a meeting with National Resistance Movement (NRM) party leaders from Kanungu district. The meeting was held at Kanungu District Council Hall.

Dr Rugunda is currently traversing Kigezi region in a move to popularize the proposal to scrap presidential age limits from the constitution. He is accompanied by the State Minister for Housing Dr Chris Baryomunsi, State Minister for Planning David Bahati and former Information and National Guidance Minister, Jim Katugugu Muhwezi.

During the meeting, area leaders accused the government of neglecting the key sectors in the region. They highlight the road network and health units which are all in a sad state.

Godfrey Karabenda, the Mayor for Kanungu Town Council expressed dissatisfaction over the failure to tarmac Hamurwa-Kanungu-Kihihi road one of the major roads which has become impassable.
 
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Dr Chris Baryomunsi, who is also the Kinkizi East County legislator acknowledged the shortfall and added that area leaders are equally tired of empty promises.
 
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Rugunda says that the challenges were being addressed.  

 

About the author

Samuel Amanya
Samuel Amanya is the Kigezi Region URN bureau chief. Kabale, Kisoro, Kanungu and Rukungiri districts fall under his docket. Samuel Amanya has been a Uganda Radio Network reporter since August 2016. Before becoming a URN staff reporter, Amanya had written for the network for several years as a freelancer.


Amanya was also a Voice of Kigezi reporter from 2011 to 2016.


A journalism graduate from African College of Commerce Kabale, Amanya values his independence. Amanya says URN is a home for his talent because it lets him explore his journalistic interests without limits.

Amanya is fascinated by the crime beat and some of his best stories have come out of that interest. Amanya says he aims to be all round beat reporter.