President Museveni has said he will not contest for the presidency again when he clocks 75 years
By John Semakula and John Masaba
President Yoweri Museveni has said he will not contest for the presidency again when he clocks 75 years, the age limit in the Constitution of Uganda.
Speaking on NTV’s ‘On the Spot’, Thursday edition, President Museveni said: “After clocking 75, I will not support the lifting of the age limit to allow me to contest for another term of office.”
The President said it had been proved scientifically that after 75 years, one is not capable of leading vigorously, although he continues to be active. Museveni, who is 68 years old, will be 72 in 2016 at the end of the current term. It is not clear if he will stand in 2016, but if he does and wins, he will be 77 by 2021 and therefore beyond the age limit.
The Constitution allows him to stand for another term as long as he is below 75.
Museveni has said the NRM party will decide if he retires or not and if it chooses him, he will avail himself for elections.
President Museveni’s pronouncement means that NRM leaders who have been in the succession queue can set their minds on the 2021 presidential race.
Those deemed in the queue include the Vice-President KiwanukaSsekandi, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, the Premier AmamaMbabazi, NRM eastern region vice-chairman Mike Mukula and former Vice-President Gilbert Bukenya.
Ssekandi, 69, will be 74 in 2016 and 79 in 2021, so he can only be eligible in 2016.
Mbabazi, 66, will be 70 in 2016 and 75 in 2021, eligible to contest in the two races.
Kadaga and Mukula are 56, and will be 60 in 2016 and 65 in 2021. Bukenya, 63, will be eligible in both 2016 and 2021. He will be 68 and 73 years in 2016 and 2021.
Both Bukenya and Mukula have expressed interest in running for president.
Bukenya said recently that he would wait for President Museveni to retire, while Mukula wants to take him on in 2016.
Ssekandi has not shown any interest but President Museveni recently said the Vice-President replaces the President in case of death.
Mbabazi and Kadaga have not openly expressed interest in the seat although their actions make the public to believe that they have an interest in the seat.
Kadaga has spearheaded the fight against corruption by allowing MPs to freely debate on whoever is implicated in the vice, which has won her public support.
Many of her supporters have asked her to run for president, the latest being a priest from Kabale Municipality.
Mbabazi has consistently defended the interests of NRM and, on several occasions, earned praise from Museveni as a sober politician and good cadre.
He is the one who first referred to the succession queue when KiizaBesigye first stood for the presidency.
In the Opposition, there are also several strong candidates to take on those in the NRM queue. They include Forum for Democratic Change president KizzaBesigye 56, NandalaMafabi (FDC), 46, Norbert Mao (DP), 45, and Olive BetiKamya, 57, of Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA).
Museveni to respect 75 age limit