OPINION | POLITICS
By Amlan Tumusiime
On April 15, when I published an article in the New Vision titled: “Why Presidential age limit should be removed from the Constitution”, I received both support and criticism from a cross section of Ugandans.
In my article, I stated that it would be unfair for a country such as Uganda to lose an outstanding leader and a highly credited one such as Museveni just because of the age yet he can still serve the country.
Interestingly, some of my critics were members of the ruling NRM party, who accused me of seeking cheap popularity and also trying to attract the President’s attention. Of course that was not the case but I was and still doing this for the good of the country.
However, I was more encouraged by the support I received from people including an old man from Kilyangobe village in Kitoba sub-county, Hoima district, who rang me and asked me to visit his home and pick a cock of my choice. Unfortunately, I have not yet picked my gift. I was told that Bunyoro-based FM radio stations during their press review talked about my article giving an opportunity to people who do not access the newspapers to know about it.
Today, five months after my article, many people including Members of Parliament, senior NRM leaders, some academicians and State House staff have openly supported the removal of Article 102 (b) from the Constitution.
The NRM supporters from different regions such as Lango, Kigezi, Busia and Teso carried out peaceful demonstrations calling for the removal of the presidential age limit from the Constitution.
What is more encouraging is a fact that the majority of the people who are supporting the removal of the presidential age limits are young people. I came to know about this last month when I visited different areas in Hoima in my capacity as a Museveni supporter to find out people’s opinion about the matter.
The fact is people rejected the land Bill, but have no problem with removing the Presidential age limit. In most areas I visited in Buhaguzi, Kigorobya and Bugahya counties, I observed that many young people follow the politics of the country and are appreciating Museveni’s style of leadership. They are also aware that the Uganda opposition has been playing politics of lies and violence. They tried to convince them in the past that the Museveni regime on youth issues. They have since realised that was an opposition’s political propaganda. Many young people are now supporting the NRM and what needs to be done is to continue engaging them by giving them the right information they need to know.
Any honest and patriotic person cannot allow the country lose a leader like Museveni because he has a clean track record that even world leaders admire and appreciate. On Monday June 19, I wrote an article in the New Vision titled: “Why President Museveni is a blessing to Uganda.”In this article I said Ugandans should count themselves lucky to have Museveni as their leader because of his unique style of leadership. Of recent the country has witnessed world leaders including two sitting heads of state Alpha Conde of Guinea and Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema all praising and admiring Museveni’s style of leadership.
Nguema described Museveni as a rare breed admitting that the quality of the person of President Museveni are very few on the continent. The Guinea leader reminds us of the former US President Bill Clinton who on his visit to Uganda, also described Museveni as a new breed of African leaders.
It is because of Museveni’s popularity and genuine love he enjoys from Ugandans that the countries’ opposition fears to have him back on the ballot paper of 2021 because they know that he will still defeat them in the free and fair elections.
I find the opposition suffering from self defeat because if they believe that the majority of Ugandans are not supporting the removal of the presidential age limit and that in case it happens it will annoy them then why can’t they leave it happen so that they can use it to de-campaign Museveni and we see if Ugandans will believe them.
In fact if parliament listens and respects Ugandans and remove the article 102 (b) and the NRM National Delegates Conference endorses Museveni as a flag bearer for 2021 his score will be over 70% from the 63.8% he received in the last elections.
Ugandans want peace and development and they are aware that it is the Museveni regime that has for the last 30years managed to make this happen. Ugandans are witnessing our neighbouring countries suffering from civil wars and having their citizens flock Uganda as refugees something that can as well happen here if we have bad leadership.
Therefore, the Opposition that has started moving across the country with their campaign dubbed “Kogikwatako 102 (b)” should be reminded that power belongs to the people. They should instead consult the people and if the people decide that the article should be removed then they should accept that. They should know that it is not un-constitutional to amend any article because it was provided for by the framers of the 1995 Constitution.
We have witnessed many countries in Africa and Europe and even United States of America who have sitting presidents of over 70 years and their countries have not in any way failed.
Therefore, we who still believe in Museveni and witnessed his track record have no any doubt that even after 75 years; he will be still strong enough to lead this country to greater heights. Let Ugandans decide on this by voting a leader of their choice without subjecting them to age limits.
If Museveni had not performed to the expectations of Ugandans they would have voted him out long time ago but by keeping voting him back every after five years and now citizens coming out to support the removal of the presidential age limit from the constitution is in my opinion clear testimony that Ugandans still treasure and count on Museveni and I hope government will not ignore Ugandans interest and one day will table the presidential age limit bill before parliament for debate.
The writer is NRM Mobiliser