When majority of the MPs voted to remove the constitutional term limit clause, it was just for Shs 5m.
That was 2005. Fast forward to 2017 – 12 years later and MPs belonging to Uganda’s ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) are ready to delete the age limit clause contained in article 102b of the constitution to allow three-decade president rule beyond the age of 75 – to allow him rule for life, a kind of life presidency similar to that of Zimbabwean nonagenarian Robert Mugabe.
At the heart of Tuesday’s motion to remove the age limit is money and attention seeking as MPs crane their political necks for the president’s attention, with hope of ministerial posts.
Led by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi, some 245 of the 246 MPs who attended Tuesday’s ‘consultative meeting’ of NRM MPs on constitutional amendments resolved to introduce a private members bill to scrap the age limit clause that bars anyone below 35 or over 75 to contest for the country’s top seat.
MPs who attended the meeting were mobilised by Magyezi. No agenda was given to the MPs prior to the meeting.
Reports have now emerged that the MPs were given Shs 800m each to vote in favour of the seemingly unpopular move.
Other reports indicate that each MP was offered Shs 500m, from the president’s office.
At least 150 MPs royal to Museveni life presidency project have reportedly been paid between Shs 500m and Shs 800m each, according to unconfirmed reports.
The other MPs’ loyalty is being ‘measured’ to see whether they should be paid less or not paid at all, the reports add.
The Tower Post could not independently verify these claims.
However, it would not be surprising if the MPs were given or even demanded some money in exchange of their loyalty to a Museveni life presidency.
In July, reports attributed to Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga indicated that MPs were reportedly close to a deal to remove the age limit.
Abiriga was quoted as saying: “I held a meeting with NRM MPs on amendment of the constitution to remove the presidential age limit, our NRM MPs confirmed their support for the bill on condition that the big man president Museveni meets 4 conditions:
1. Our big man President Museveni will pay Shs 350 million to each MP,
2. Statehouse will bailout the MPs’ loans which they took from the Former Crane Bank,
3. The President will allow the inclusion of a clause in this amendment to extend the MPs’ Parliamentary term to 7 years because voters have threatened not to vote the MPs who support this bill back to Parliament in the next elections,
4. The 4th request is too heavy, I don’t know if the Big man will allow it.”