The question of the date of birth for Uganda’s three-decade president Yoweri Museveni has stoked the age limit debate fire after he revealed there was no record at his place of birth.
On Sunday, President Museveni and First Lady Janet Museveni joined parishioners of St Luke Kinoni Church of Uganda to commemorate 70 years since he was baptised.
President Museveni was baptised at St Luke Kinoni Church of Uganda, Rwampara, Mbarara District, on August 3, 1947 by the late Rev Eric Sabiti.
Sabiti would later become the first archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga Zaire.
Museveni thanked God for protecting him for the past 70 years as a Christian and “the three years”.
“I thank God for the gift of life. 70yrs as a Christian is a long time, if I add on the three years,” he said.
“I am here to thank God for bringing me this far, through the wars in Uganda, Luweero, to a peaceful country.”
Museveni said his date of birth question disturbed him since there was no proper record keeping system and his mother was illiterate.
The president said he “interviewed and talked to a lot of people” to find out his exact date of birth.
He narrated that his search took him to the Old Mbarara Hospital where he was disappointed: there was no record.
His date of birth was announced with word of mouth – even this did not have a day or date: it was just a month and a year.
“I am making 73 years born at old Mbarara hospital. When I went there to look for records, there was nothing.
“I kept asking and was told Nyakanga [August] 1944.”
Museveni’s date of birth and age are important for the age limit debate. If Museveni was born in 1944, he will be over the age of 75 and therefore ineligible for reelection when Uganda next goes to the polls in 2021.
But if he was born and baptised in the same year of 1947 as the new church records show, Museveni will be eligible to stand for another term of office as president.
For the former, Museveni has to push Parliament to remove article 102b (age limit clause) of the constitution before he can stand for reelection to extend his then 35-year rule (in 2021) to four decades in power.