Todwong defends Museveni’s silence on age limit debate

Todwong defends Museveni's silence on age limit debate
National Resistance Movement (NRM) party Deputy Secretary General, Richard Todwong. Courtesy Photo.

National Resistance Movement (NRM) party Deputy Secretary General, Richard Todwong, has defended the inert silence of President Yoweri Museveni in the age limit debate.

There have been calls to President Museveni declare his position on the proposed amendment of article 102 of the constitution which caps the age of a presidential contestant between 35 and 75 years. Political leaders, the academia, religious leaders and civil society have all asked the president, who stands to benefit directly from the amendment, to break the conspicuous silence on the matter.

On September 2, Gulu Archbishop John Baptist Odama led a group of ten clerics to publicly call on President Museveni to make his stand clear on the matter. They said leaving the citizens guessing for far too long can endanger the tranquillity in the country.

But Todwong, a former Member of Parliament for Nwoya County, says the passive stand of President Museveni on the debate is justified under a multi-party dispensation where decisions are taken by parties other than individuals.

He says President Museveni declaring his interests on the matter will suffocate effective national debate after wide accusations that he stands to benefit from the amendment.

The bill to have the article amended was this week tabled by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi and has been referred to Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for scrutiny and further consultation.

Todwong says NRM will undertake parallel consultations with the wider population to ensure that the bill receives the backing of the masses. He says the various structures are collecting memorandums and signatures to guide the party organs in approaching the debate from the various districts.

President Museveni could become the first beneficiary of the Constitution Amendment (No. 2) Bill, 2017, should it pass into law. In power since 1986, Museveni would be ineligible to stand in 2021 under the current law. Born in 1944, Museveni turns 75 in 2019.