Magyezi blames legal committee for age limit bill delays

Magyezi blames Legal committee for age limit bill delays
Raphael Magyezi

Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi has blamed the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee for the delayed second reading of the age limit bill. Magyezi, the main proponent of the proposed constitutional amendment bill says that although he wanted the bill back on the floor of Parliament before Christmas, this may not be possible.

He says the Legal committee which has been drafting the final report after interfacing with stakeholders, delayed to handover the report to the Speaker and thus could not put it on today’s order paper. Magyezi said his desire is to have this bill out of the way before Christmas.

“Any person, even if its you; when you have not got the report, how do you put it on the order paper? Today its not there, I hope tomorrow it will be there. Me I’m prepared, I want this report, we debate it, I get the second reading and my bill is passed. We should not go for Christmas when this bill is still hanging. I want it passed,” Magyezi said.

The Legal committee was given 45 days to scrutinize the Constitutional Amendment Bill (No. 2) of 2017 which seeks to, among others, scrap age limits for presidential candidates from the Constitution.

Last Friday, reports indicated that the committee had endorsed the amendment and were due to present the report today as parliament resumed, alongside a minority report. This publication has learnt that the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee handed over the report to the speaker at the beginning of the week.

However the presentation of the report by the committee did not appear on the order paper, but in the notice of business to follow. Some MPs claim that the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party is playing delaying tactics to keep those opposed to the bill out of the game of numbers.

Reagan Okumu, the Aswa County MP says that NRM will still do its best to pass the bill. He claims NRM is currently divided over the bill because the party doesn’t have money to give to the MPs.

Chris Baryomunsi, the Kikinzi West MP, however, says members were only discussing the outcome of the consultations and that there are no divisions in the party.

Medard Sseggona, the Busiro East MP says NRM wants to surprise the opposition, but that this will not work.

“Well a lot has happened before, we have seen the order paper amended before including the motion. The motion was brought by amendment of the order paper,” said Sseggona.

Magyezi’s bill was tabled for the first reading in September amidst chaos in the House.