For the next two weeks, I will be combing my constituency -Usuk County in Katakwi district to consult and educate my electorate on the pending Constitutional Amendment Bill.
To be precise, I will be consulting them on article 26 and article 102 (b) of the Constitution which seeks to give government powers to compulsorily take over private land before compensation and scrap off presidential age limit, respectively.
Like I earlier on alluded to in my previous Facebook post, I don’t support government’s move to amend article 26 on ground that there are several existing laws that can be modified to address the government’s plea.
And as members of Teso Parliamentary Group (TPG), we are unanimously standing firm against this Bill and we shall utilize this two weeks recess to educate our voters about these amendments because it has also come to our notice that some elements especially members of the opposition are hoodwinking the unsuspecting locals that government is amending the land bill to allow them steal their land.
The other ‘contentious’ provision of the constitution that has left tongues wagging is article 102 (b) which states that a person is not qualified for election as President unless that person is not less than 35 years and not more than 75 years of age.
Fellow Ugandans especially people of Usuk and Teso at large, I will emphatically say that I will continue to support the scrapping off of age limit which has been identified to be very unconstitutional, thus a lacuna in our constitution which must be dealt with.
This is so because this article marginalizes people by their age and yet article 32 of the Constitution, says that the State shall take affirmative action in favour of groups marginalized on the basis of gender, age, disability or any other reason created by history, tradition or custom, for the purpose of redressing imbalances which exist against them.
This article is subjective to potential leaders who are below 35 and over 75 years. Why shouldn’t an 18 year old contest for presidency yet he/she is a voter?
Can you imagine such a person cannot even contest for chairperson LCV, or even vice chairperson? And how come there is no age limit for MPs? And why should we have age limit for the president?
So, as a member of parliament who swore to protect and uphold this constitution, I can’t protect what is unconstitutional. This is a lacuna which has been identified and should be corrected.
This amendment is not necessarily to favour our NRM party chairperson President Museveni; what if he does not contest in 2021? And if he does well and good then the caucus will decide.
Let’s not waste time to debate about issues that don’t matter because some of the leaders who are now against this amendment were the same people who sat in the Constituent Assembly and were against inserting this clause in the Constitution.
This is on record that during 1994/1995 promulgation of this constitution, people like Dr. Kizza Besigye were one of those who did not want this age limit set. In fact, even the report of the constitutional review commission had agreed on 80years after consulting with the people.
I will continue to galvanize support from my electorate and share ideas, opinions with them to support the amendment of article 102 after all we have already amended it three times since 1995 and this will not be a special case.
Personally, I think we cannot afford to lose Museveni at this time for his pivotal role in the integration of East Africa and Africa at large. Uganda is now in the take-off stage through the visionary leadership of Museveni, so allow him to finish what he has started; we still need the peace and stability.
Let’s not allow Western countries to enslave and dictate on us again like they did several years ago. Recently we tried to amend the law on homosexuality, and they mounted pressure on us yet this is not our culture. Look at UN, the whole African continent of 54 countries does not even have a vote in the Security Council. Is that where we want to go?
Once again, I am calling upon people from Teso and other regions to listen to their members of parliament and strike a mutual consent with them on these constitutional amendments. Let’s desist from use of violence, but rather disagree to agree.
For God and My Country
Peter Ogwang is the current MP for Usuk County in Katakwi district, Teso Region