Uganda: Age Limit Debate Favours Museveni - Dr Besigye

The planned amendment of the 1995 Constitution is illegitimate unless it is made under a new political environment that would transit Uganda to a new leader, former Presidential candidate Col. Dr Kizza Besigye has said.

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.


photo credit: The Observer

"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.

Published by: The Monitor

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