TOP
Monday,August 19,2019 23:02 PM

NRM MPs divided over term limits

By Vision Reporter

Added 22nd April 2012 03:11 AM

Members of Parliament from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) are sharply divided on whether or not the Constitution should be amended to pave way for the restoration of presidential term limits.

2012 4largeimg222 apr 2012 001146040 703x422

Members of Parliament from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) are sharply divided on whether or not the Constitution should be amended to pave way for the restoration of presidential term limits.

By John Masaba
 
Members of Parliament from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) are sharply divided on whether or not the Constitution should be amended to pave way for the restoration of presidential term limits.
 
Out of the 115 NRM MPs surveyed, 59 said they would vote ‘yes’ to restore a pre-2005 two-term limit for the president.
 
Twenty seven said they were undecided, while 23 said they would vote against the motion.
 
Western Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga is leading efforts to table a bill to amend the Constitution and restore term limits.
 
With 262 members out 378, the NRM has a clear majority in the House and if united, could block any bill.
 
Were such a motion to make it to the floor of the House, timing and leadership will be crucial.
 
“Our party started the issue of reviewing term limits long time ago,” said Ochwa David (NRM), the MP for Agule County.
 
“But some opportunists decided to jump on it and take it to media because they want publicity.”
 
Some MPs seconding the restoration of term limits said they were concerned that Uganda was the only country in East Africa where a president’s term was unlimited.
 
“It is in the in the interest of creating parity with other East African states,” said Simon Peter Aleper (NRM), MP for Kotido Municipality.
 
“What we saw in Libya was due to someone refusing to hand over power honourably and we don’t want a repeat of that here,” he said.
 
Other legislators expressed concern that the absence of term limits would ensnare Ugandans, making it difficult to get rid of unpopular leaders in the future.
 
“Mzee (President Yoweri Museveni) is growing old and I don’t see many people out there who would steer this country as well he has. If we don’t bring back the term limits, we might in future get stuck with an unpopular person,” said Ongalo Obote, the MP for Kalaki County in Kaberamaido.
 
Some MPs are, however, waiting for directions from the party leadership.
 
“Call me after Tuesday after our (NRM) caucus meeting. Restoring limits is one of the issues that will be discussed,” said Kabajo James Kyewalabye, the MP for Kiboga East.
 
Others want the limits restored only after President Museveni leaves power.
 
“Only when the President announces that he will not take in part in future candidature will I support that motion,” said another MP.
 
Others argued that the presidential office is not any different from Parliament, district chairpersons and councillors, whose terms are open. “Some MPs have been in their seats since the 1980s and yet they are same people gunning for the restoration term of limits for the president. Where is the fairness?” asked said Ephraim Biraaro of Buhweju County.
 
Early this week, more than 20 MPs turned up at a press briefing, where they declared support for a plan to re-introduce term limits in the Constitution.
 
This comes hot on heels of comments on CNN TV by President Museveni that he was willing to stand down if his party NRM asked him not to contest again.
 
A group of civil society bodies led by Kampala assistant Bishop Zac Niringiye is also leading a separate effort.
 
In 2005, the Seventh Parliament deleted Article 105(2) from the Constitution, which provided that an individual could only be president for two five-year terms.
 

NRM MPs divided over term limits

Related Articles

More From The Author

Related articles