Masindi district council ‘votes’ against age limit removal

Masindi district council 'votes' against age limit removal

Masindi district council has passed a resolution rejecting the proposed scrapping of the presidential age limit.

Masindi district youth councillor, Joseph Wamani moved the motion to reject the proposal in a fully-packed council on Wednesday.

In his motion, Wamani said there was need to reject attempts to delete article 102 (b) of the constitution, which caps the president’s age at 75 years. He argued that deleting the provision would mean creating a life presidency in the country, which undermines the true ideals of democracy.

The district council speaker, Moses Kiirya put the matter to a secret ballot. 16 of the 21 members of the council voted in favour of the motion. Four councillors abstained, saying they need time to consult while one councillor didn’t attend the council meeting.

There was a heated exchange between the councillors and Kiirya before he subjected the motion to a vote. It all started when the speaker tried to stay the motion to consult and wait for the outcomes of the consultations by the legislators.

The councillors rejected the proposal, saying they can’t do a postmortem and don’t need time to consult since they spend most of their time with their electorate.

“We always swear that I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, so help me God. For us here when we take a vow, culturally and today I fail to follow it…they should not touch,” said one of the councillors.

Fredrick Banage, a resident of Karujubu division in Masindi municipality welcomed the resolution of the councilors and asked other districts to follow suit.

“I am exceedingly overwhelmed by the decision which the district council has concluded with against the amendment of 102(b) just because this has been the only safety valve left in the constitution of this country. Since a decision has been reached, I’m very happy and I hope all districts in Uganda could emulate what we have done and then we can have a brighter future,” he said.

Hakim Kabagambe, a resident of civic ward in Masindi municipality said this is the first time the district council has acted with an independent mind.

Masindi becomes the second district after Bukedea to pass a resolution on the proposed constitution amendment. Unlike Masindi, Bukedea district council voted in favour of the proposed amendment drawing angry reactions from pro-democracy activists and residents.

Recently, the Igara West MP, Raphael Magezi movement tabled the Constitution (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2017 on the floor of parliament. The bill is before the Legal and Parliamentary affairs committee for scrutiny.