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Uganda: New Age Limit Poll Shows Stalemate

Photograph: Alex Esagala/The Display

Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi on the floor of Parliament right through the primary reading of the age Limit invoice.

Essentially The Most comprehensive Poll performed to this point on how MPs are likely to vote when the Raphael Magyezi age Limit amendment bill reaches that stage has discovered that the invoice has Fifty Seven.8% give a boost to.

Impressive as it appears, this percentage falls wanting the 2 thirds (Sixty Six%) majority required to push in the course of the amendment whose suspected goal is to increase President Museveni’s 31-year rule beyond 2021.

The Poll, conducted Via this newspaper during the last seven days, covered 297 MPs, which is about two thirds of the 436 lawmakers with balloting rights.

Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi’s non-public member’s invoice seeks to have Article 102(b) of the Structure scrapped, thereby losing the 35-Seventy Five age limits for presidential aspirants. Museveni is 73 and would now not qualify to run in 2021 if Article 102(b) stands.

This reporter conducted one-on-one and call name interviews with each MP polled, and in addition tracked statements made With The Aid Of various lawmakers during press conferences or appearances on totally different media platforms.

Of the sampled MPs, 171 (57.8%) mentioned they’d vote in favour of the invoice, While 103 (35%) said they might vote against it. At Least 22 MPs (6.Eight%) stated they had been nonetheless undecided, While one stated he would abstain.

This failure to achieve commanding reinforce for the bill on the part of NRM, and the open hostility the speculation met in lots of constituencies all the way through the just- ended session course of, has energised ruling birthday party MPs who are pushing for the restoration of term limits as a CHANGE-off.

These MPs, who embody Ruhinda North’s Thomas Tayebwa, are telling their colleagues that taking out the age Restrict with out restoring time period limits would go away the Structure bereft of any safeguards in opposition to dictatorial rule in future.

NUMBERS SPORT

According To Article 262 of the Constitution, on the 2nd and 0.33 readings of the bill, NRM wants the make stronger of no longer less than two-thirds of all contributors of parliament.

But based on our survey, the numbers in enhance of the bill are brief By Way Of At The Least 17.2%, which interprets to 27 MPs. The Observer’s pattern of 297 respondents represents two thirds of the 436 MPs with vote casting rights. Of this total QUANTITY, NRM enjoys a sizable majority of 301 MPs and a couple of allied unbiased lawmakers.

However, the Magyezi bill is so divisive that many lawmakers are prepared to break ranks for their own political survival. Within The corridors of parliament, probably the most ‘undecided’ MPs are identified to have informed colleagues that they may believe retaining away from the home when the bill comes up for its second and 0.33 readings, or abstain from the vote.

One such MP, Pius Wakabi (Bugahya), informed us he would abstain from the vote given that his individuals are sharply divided over the invoice.

“I Have four sub-counties which might be sharply divided; two of them fortify the modification and the opposite two are strongly opposed to it,” Wakabi mentioned on December 4.

While Koboko Woman MP Margaret Baba Diri would not intend to abstain, she is privy to the extent to which the bill is divisive in her personal constituency.

“I carried out nine consultative conferences with completely different teams of people. The district NRM leaders overwhelmingly supported it but the local executive leaders rejected it,” Baba Diri stated.

“I additionally went around the entire seven sub-counties In The district, together with the municipality. Three sub-counties supported it and in 4, it was divided opinion but the municipality is overwhelmingly towards it,” the Koboko Lady MP mentioned.

In Line With Baba Diri, who spoke to us on December Three, some folks “are so agitated they didn’t even want to hearken to us.”

However, Baba Diri mentioned she would vote for the amendment alongside her birthday party.

TRADE-OFF

The quandary facing MPs similar to Baba Diri, torn between toeing the birthday celebration line and listening to their constituents, has galvanised NRM MPs who really feel that restoring term limits will satisfy their consciences and reassure their supporters who are in opposition to the invoice.

Others have recommended a two-yr extension of the federal government’s tenure to make it a seven quite than 5-year term.

“5 years are too brief as a result of after elections you shouldn’t have time to pay attention to development programmes; most of the time is wasted politicking,” said Richard Othieno Okoth (West Budama North).

The MP claimed that This Concept had come from his ingredients.

“The people instructed me throughout the consultations that they want the time period to be extended to seven years However restricted to two terms, and if this isn’t incorporated Within The committee report, I’m Going to recommend it,” Othieno stated.

Othieno’s idea isn’t as farfetched because it sounds as a result of President Museveni told the 600-member NRM National Govt Council on October 27, that a 5-12 months presidential time period is simply too quick (See: Museveni: 5-12 months time period is too quick, The Observer, October 30).

Different MPs who indicated that their constituents favour this inspiration include Fred Bwino Kyakulaga (Kigulu North), Kenneth Obote Ongalo (Kalaki), Robina Mukisa (Namayingo Woman) and Stephen Mayende Dede (Bukooli South).

“My people say that the condition for lifting the age Limit must be the restoration of the 2-term Limit,” Ongalo stated on December Four.

This Idea, the MPs we spoke to stated, is in keeping with a comparability with Other international locations Within The region which have no age limits However do have time period limits.

“There Is A worry that taking out the age limits is giving freely the u . s . a .. Imagine a scenario where you get a unsuitable particular person after Museveni is gone; what is going to happen? We don’t need a situation the place after doing away with all the safeguards, we get a dictator as a result of we doubt whether or not Museveni still has Two Decades ahead,” said Bukooli South’s Mayende Dede.

Ruhinda North MP Tayebwa said on Tuesday that he too favours restoration of term limits.

“There Are Various of us who consider that you may’t eliminate all of the safeguards from the Constitution, [and] we wish to push for the return of time period limits and have it entrenched beneath Article 260,” he mentioned.

This idea, Tayebwa delivered, used to be presented in writing earlier than the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, and is to be discussed In The NRM caucus ahead of going to parliament.

“That You Could’t open up the Constitution and depart it similar to that,” the youthful MP stated.

Asked if this wouldn’t open a window for a referendum on the Magyezi invoice, Tayebwa mentioned their push is intended to carry back Article One Zero Five(2), which used to be deleted in 2005.

“We Don’t want to touch any [other] article [of the Constitution]. We’re introducing a new article; the person who was once eliminated in 2005,” Tayebwa said.

Alternatively, some opposition leaders have scoffed at this suggestion, pronouncing their ruling party colleagues are determined.

“They are trying to find a treatment to the national opposition to the invoice because they got here again from their constituencies with pink noses; because of this they’re also pushing for a secret pollas a result of they don’t need their electorate to see them vote casting against their voices,” stated Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka Municipality).

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