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Age limit debate: UN boss speaks out

By Pascal Kwesiga

Added 19th October 2017 02:38 PM

The UN resident coordinator, Rosa Malango, said they have trained segments of the Ugandan population, including the cultural and religious leaders, youth and elders, under the peace architecture project to promote peaceful resolution of conflicts.

Age limit debate: UN boss speaks out

The UN resident coordinator, Rosa Malango, said they have trained segments of the Ugandan population, including the cultural and religious leaders, youth and elders, under the peace architecture project to promote peaceful resolution of conflicts.

 UN resident coordinator, Rosa Malango

As the political temperature continues to rise over the controversial Constitutional Amendment Bill 2017, the UN has said Uganda should explore indigenous solutions to the political questions it is grappling with today.


The UN resident coordinator, Rosa Malango, said they have trained segments of the Ugandan population, including the cultural and religious leaders, youth and elders, under the peace architecture project to promote peaceful resolution of conflicts.

"Every country has issues. There is no single country without issues. But Uganda is proud that we have trained sections of the population to address conflicts, including political ones, under a peace architecture project," she stated.

Malango was responding to the question about the current political climate and how it is impacting UN operations in the country during a press briefing on the upcoming UN's 72nd anniversary commemoration at Uganda Media Centre on Thursday.  

Malango said Ugandans, who have received training under the UN's peace architecture scheme should use the knowledge they have gained to address political issues through peaceful means.

"Look at the US where I grew up and learned a lot. There are issues too. The religious leaders, the culture leaders and others we have trained should come and speak and they are listened to. Here, even political leaders listen to cultural leaders because they respect heritage," Malango said.

Asked if she thinks the religious and political leaders who have already voiced their opposition against the proposed constitutional amendments are being listened to, Malango said, "They should change strategy if they are not listened to. They should speak together," she advised.

The Bill seeks to remove the lower and upper age restrictions for Ugandans seeking election to political offices. But the country's focus is on the Article 102(b) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda that deals with the age qualification of the president. It bars a person beyond 75 years of age from running for president.

Without amending the Article, 73-year-old President Yoweri Museveni, who has been head of state since 1986, would be ineligible to run for president. The Constitution was first amended in 2005 to remove the two five year-term limits for the president.

While amending the Constitution is legal, Uganda is gripped by a debate on why the supreme law was amended in 2005 to enable just an individual (Museveni) run again, and the current Bill seems to be intended to achieve the same purpose, four years before another election in 2021.

In the preamble of the Constitution, its framers remind Ugandans of the political and constitutional instabilities Uganda suffered and indicate that the supreme law was carefully crafted to cure the past problems.

 

 

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