Doctors under the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) have recommended that Presidential candidates as well as other leaders should be subjected to a mental and physical examination to ascertain their thinking, recognition and planning abilities to lead.
This was entailed in their submission on the Age Limit amendment bill as requested by Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Their report is also copied to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga.
The medics were tasked by the Committee to help give an expert opinion on whether a person of 75 years and beyond is fit to lead in any position especially as a president.
According to UMA President, Dr. Anthony Ekwaro Obuku, their findings were based on reasoning ability of such an aged person, intelligence, memory capacity among others.
“We looked at the speed of information processing as one grows old, which reflects the efficiency of cognitive operations, attention as one grows old, the capacity for processing information with issues to do with memory and the executive functions like regulation of behavior among others,” Obuku said.
In the report, the doctors argue that subjecting leaders to mental and physical examination gives voters confidence on how well their leaders will reason and perform their tasks.
“We are making an important recommendation that anybody who intends to lead this country and leadership anywhere should be mentally assessed as well as physically assessed and this should serve to all other leaders and we are ready to provide this service free of charge,” Obuku said.
Obuku however said that as doctors, they do not have the authority to answer a political question like whether at 75 years someone has the capacity to still perform effectively.
“For us as scientists we are unlikely to have authority to answer such a political question and as we know, age is a spectrum,” Obuku said.
Obuku noted that their role as doctors was to answer to a scientific question meant to empower parliamentarians to make a decision in regard to the age, but not giving a political answer on whether President Museveni at 75 years can or cannot lead.
“We have however concluded that following the scientific evidences available, people aspiring for highest office in the land should be subjected to tests and we are ready to offer this service at no cost.”