Law lecturers at Uganda’s premier university have weighed in on the controversial age limit bill that seeks to allow three-decade president Yoweri Museveni rule for life.
Magyezi and majority of ruling NRM party MPs seek to delete the upper age limit clause in article 102b that bars anyone from standing for president beyond the age of 75.
If not deleted, three-decade president Yoweri Museveni, born in 1944, will be ineligible for reelection when Uganda next goes to the polls in 2021.
Now, at least 12 Makerere University law professors have issued a statement titled “Raping the Sanctity of the Constitution”, condemning speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga for allowing a military attack on Parliament reminiscent of “the 1966 overthrow of 1962 Constitution and replacement with the Pigeon Hole Constitution”.
On Wednesday, Special Forces Command (SFC) soldiers raided Parliament and ejected 24 opposition MPs who had defied speaker Kadaga’s orders to vacate the chambers after they were suspended for singing down Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi’s age limit removal motion.
The lecturers argue that the attack on Parliament was “deliberately planned to intimidate the legislators to pass an amendment that favours a single person”.
“We equally condemn the actions of the speaker of parliament Hon Rebecca Kadaga for surrendering her powers and thereby exposing parliament to the whims of the executive arm of government, and in particular to the police and military,” the professors write.
They also point to a meeting on the morning of last Wednesday between the speaker and the executive arm, hours before the military attack on parliament.
They further argue that Kadaga turned parliament into “a playing field” by accepting Magyezi’s motion months after rejecting a relatively similar motion by Nakifuma MP Sekitoleko Kafeero.
They also condemn the ban of live TV and radio coverage by Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), describing it as both “unwarranted and unconstitutional”.
“In order to stem this history of violent change of presidents, President Museveni, who would have been in power for 35 years in 2021, needs to set a good example and handover power peacefully to another elected president,” the dons recommend, considering that Uganda has had blood-letting political transitions.
The law teachers also poke holes into Magyezi motion’s relationship with the Mbabazi Vs Museveni 2016 election petition, saying “the issue of age was never an issue in the Amama Mbabazi petition”.
– The professors want Parliament to withdraw the Magyezi motion
– They want state organs and private actors to respect human rights
– That the Uganda Human Rights Commission punishes all violators of human rights in relation to the age limit debate
– That security agencies stop engaging in partisan politics and stop persecuting those opposed to a Museveni life presidency.
– All citizens protect and defend the constitution.