Hundreds of the ruling party, National Resistance Movement (NRM) supporters in Kabale district took to the streets yesterday to stage another demonstration to agitate for the removal of the presidential age limit.
Led by Edison Turyahabwa, the NRM publicity secretary for Kabale district and Sheikh Kassim Kamugisha the Kabale district NRM youth league chairperson, the demonstrators carried placards with some of them bearing words like; ‘Kick Age Limit out of the Constitution (KALOC)’.
Others had; ‘Below 35 years for Presidency Above 75 years for Presidency, and ‘Kabale Taxi drivers support lifting of the Presidential Age limit’ among others.
The demonstrators matched from Kabale police barracks playground through Kabale Main Street up to Kisoro Taxi Park at ESSO and converged in front of NRM offices.
They claimed that Article 102 (b) of the Constitution which sets the presidential age limit between 35 and 75 years is unfair, discriminative and must be amended.
The NRM supporters also handed a petition to Pauline Bigyirwa, the Kabale district NRM vice chairperson and told her to forward it to President Yoweri Museveni demanding for the removal of the age limit.
Sheikh Kamugisha says that Article 102(b) is discriminative to Ugandans that are above the age of 75 who still have potential to lead the country. Kamugisha says that this is the time for all legislators to quickly act and amend the article.
“Our campaign has been named KALOC – Kick Age Limit Out of the Constitution and other laws. Therefore members of parliament from Kigezi and Kabale, we want you to expeditiously handle this campaign and dispose off the age limitations disposal bill because we must take power of our country today not tomorrow”, he said.
“Ageism and discrimination is against the Constitution of Uganda because we are equal before the law. The elderly are also equal before the law. Why deny them the chance to contest for all positions in the country.
Today, we are saying no and our voice must be heard within Uganda and across boundaries. The time is now, it can never be tomorrow. The [elderly] are one million, why do you want them to vote for you but you don’t want them to contest for positions. This must be a question to be answered now not tomorrow.”
President Museveni turns 75 in 2019, two years before the next general elections scheduled for 2021.
Ronald Hakizimana Bifabusha, from Lower Bugongi in Northern Division, Kabale Municipality, says that he supports the removal of age limits to give way for President Museveni to stand again because he has played a big role towards the development of the country.
Emmanuel Niwagaba, from Northern Division in Kabale Municipality, says that the age limit must be removed because limiting people who are above the age of 75 gives the country a bad image.
“It is a problem in general because our Constitution is not favouring all sides. You see, the Constitution of Uganda needs some amendments [so] we, the youth stand on the posts we want and the president of 80 years like it is in America”, he said.
‘DECEIVED TO DEMONSTRATE’
Erisa Twinmomujuni, a 70-year-old Local Council (LC) one official for Keishamunyoro Cell in Kitumba sub-county, says that they were deceived by the NRM local leaders to converge in Kabale town for a discussion about development issues.
Twinomujuni however says that he was dismayed when they were given placards supporting the removal of age limits and were later told to march through Kabale town.
“I was invited by one of the councillors in my area that we are needed in Kabale. So I had to come to see exactly what is going on – [only] to find that they had written so many placards mentioning that we are supposed to support the lifting of age limit of which am not in the support myself”, he said.
“Therefore we are just seeing, in fact the majority of people moving they, don’t know what is happening. Definitely, I can’t support that because I have seen most of these governments coming and going, therefore I don’t simply support. I have to analyse things how they are going on.
I haven’t seen anything good going on. It is just bluffing of the public of what is going on. The fact [is] many people are going to get disappointed. I’m very much regretting because I don’t see why I should waste my time like that.”
Bigyirwa promised to forward their petition to the office of the Kabale district party chairperson. The demonstrators were later seen lining up and being served a bottle of soda each and Shs 5,000.
This is not the first time NRM supporters across the country have staged a demonstration in support of removing the presidential age limit from the constitution.
On Saturday, NRM supporters in Lango held a similar demo demanding that the presidential age limit be lifted to give room to all Ugandans who aspire to become president to compete for the position without any limitations and prejudice.
Last month, another group mainly from Lira town held a similar peaceful demonstration.