Voters petition minister Muyingo over age limit consultations

Voters petition minister Muyingo over age limit consultations
Minister John Chrysostom Muyingo

At least 38 residents of Kamira sub-county in Luweero have petitioned their area MP John Chrysostom Muyingo protesting what they call discriminative consultations on the age limit bill.

Muyingo, who also doubles as the state minister for Higher Education is currently involved in consultative meetings on the Constitution (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 2017, which seeks to scrap article 102 (b) of the constitution. It caps the president’s age at 75 years.

As a part of his consultations, Muyingo is only meeting ruling party, National Resistance Movement (NRM) leaders at the various sub-county headquarters. Recently, the minister claimed that most of the people he had consulted had asked him to vote in favour of scrapping article 102 (b) from the constitution.

However, residents of Nambeere, Mazzi and Mabuye parishes in Kamira sub-county have criticized Muyingo for holding discriminative consultative meetings, which are not representative of their opinions.

In their October 22 petition addressed to Muyingo, the residents express disappointment accusing the minister of only inviting NRM leaning LCI & LCII candidates and few NRM leaders for his consultative meetings.

The lead petitioner, Omar Wamala, a resident of Nabinaka village, says during his campaigns Muyingo was able to traverse the constituency seeking for their votes and wonders why he isn’t doing the same to seek their views on the bill.

“I’m very really absurd to hear that Hon Muyingo who collected a vote from me, collected [a few] people and they have endorsed the age limit. If Hon Muyingo has been making consultations, he should not segregate. We the people of Kamira will not allow it.

We’re one and together LC I and LC II have been invited wrongly to talk about an issue which should be a national issue. There are very many people waiting for Hon Muyingo to come and talk to us all. We’re waiting for him to come and explain to us the meaning of age limit. If he explains to us, we can join him, if he fails to explain we can leave him. Why invite a few, when the thing affects us all,” Wamala said.

Richard Kalyango, a resident of Mazzi village, says many of them don’t understand the benefits of removing the presidential age cap or not and need an explanation from their area MP to help them make an informed decision, something he isn’t doing.

Other residents questioned why the NRM leaders didn’t seek their opinions before speaking on their behalf. The petition is copied to the Luweero Woman MP, Lilian Nakate who is accused of conducting similar meetings and the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga.

Over the weekend, a group of youths disrupted a consultative meeting of NRM leaders drawn from the village and sub county levels and led a procession in Kikyusa town to protest the failure by Muyingo to consult them.

They also denounced the age limit bill and warned Muyingo against supporting it. Led by Hassan Mutesasira, the protesters also warned Muyingo against only consulting NRM party members, saying the proposed constitutional amendments are not for the Party but the entire country.

When reached on phone, Muyingo said he hadn’t received the petition, but said he would meet the residents if that is their wish. He declined to discuss the position of his electorate on the proposed amendment, saying he was uncomfortable to discuss the matter on phone.