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Parliament defers motion on lifting age limits

By Henry Sekanjako, Mary Karugaba

Added 24th August 2016 09:02 PM

Some MPs who were opposed to the motion noted that the Bill is aimed at lifting the presidential age limit

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Some MPs who were opposed to the motion noted that the Bill is aimed at lifting the presidential age limit

Parliament has deferred the consideration of a motion which seeks to tabling of a private member's Bill to lift age limit.

Nakifuma County MP, Kafeero Ssekitoleko is seeking for amendment of the constitution to lift the retirement age for judicial officers, and the tenure of office for members of the Electoral Commission.

Parliament chaired by deputy speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, first rejected the motion when Ssekitoleko failed to furnish the MPs with copies of the motion, as required by the rules of procedure.

“I know Eng. Ssekitoleko is very eager to do what he wants, but I don’t see any copies of the document he is reading, can we be given copies of the motion before  he proceeds further ,” Nandala Mafabi (Budadiri West), asked,  as he rose on a procedural  matter .

It is at this point Oulanyah, stopped Ssekitoleko from tabling the motion, pending distribution of copies detailing the substance of the motion.

“I did submit the copies of the motion to the office of the clerk, but I don’t know what happened, allow me find out and then I report back,” Ssekitoleko pleaded with the House.

Seeming not prepared to receive the motion, the MPs mainly from the opposition tried to block Ssekitoleko from tabling the motion, saying he was rushing the matter which they said tampers with the Constitution whose amendment needs input by all Ugandans.

The MPs proposed that the House defers the matter to Thursday for consideration, after digesting the motion, whose copies had been circulated to members.

“Let us sleep over the matter and consider it tomorrow when it is fresh in our minds,” Betty Nambooze, the Mukono Municipality MP proposed.

Oulanyah however pleaded with the MPs to at least allow Ssekitoleko table the motion, and debate on whether to grant the MP leave or not on Thursday.

“What you are doing now is debating the motion and that is irregular. Allow the MP table the motion and we decide on it tomorrow,” Oulanyah pleaded.

Failing to agree to his suggestion, Oulanyah adjourned the House to Thursday, when Parliament is expected to re-consider the motion.

Some MPs who were opposed to the motion, noted that the Bill is aimed at lifting the presidential age limit.

The draft Bill, titled “The Constitutional (Amendment) Act, 2016”, seeks to increase the retirement age for justices and judges, and for related matters.

The Bill also seeks to remove the limits on the tenure of the members of the Electoral Commission, and to also increase the period of adjudication of presidential election petitions.

The MPs however noted that the Bill is uncalled for; adding that the 9th Parliament resolved that there should be a Constitutional Review Commission, which they said should handle the matter. 

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