President Yoweri as the year 2017 came to its end, took time to heap praises onto National Resistance Movement (NRM) Members of Parliament who days ago amended the constitution, removing an obstacle that would have barred him from running for the sixth term in office.
Museveni in his end of year speech, which aired live on all major electronic media channels, thanked the 317 MPs who voted to amend Article 102 (b) of the constitution to rid the presidential age limit.
In the midst of heighted backlash that most of the MPs faced back home with their constituents who accused them of betrayal, Museveni hailed the legislators for “resisting blackmail and malalignment” and opting for “a flexible constitution to deal with the density issues of Africa instead of maintaining Uganda on the path of an imaginative non-ideological neo-colonial status quo.”
He proceeded to liken the MPs to some of the most historic figures of the ruling NRM party.
“The 317 MPs have played a crucial role at this historical juncture, just like the 28 cadres of Mozambique played in the formation of the Fronasa army, the 43 fighters with 23 riffles played when we attacked Kabamba, and the 232 MPs of the 7th parliament played in opening up the term limits that have enabled Uganda to cover more ground,” he said.
Emphasizing in his 100 minute speech, the importance of uniting Africa and the East African Federation, Museveni said by removing the age limit hurdle, the MPs had “enabled us to avoid a more complicated path that would have been required.”
“You cannot kukonesa (undercook) the destiny of Africa,” retorted the President at his country residence in Rwakitura, before going hard on the opponents of the constitutional amendment.
“Those liars who talk about life presidency of Museveni should be exposed for what they are. They are either uninformed individuals… or evil schemers who don’t want Uganda and Africa to succeed.”
According to Museveni, his drawn-out efforts to integrate the region are not for his own benefit, but merely a sacrifice.
He cited the deceased Tanzanian leader Julius Nyerere, who while advocating for the East African Federation, was attacked by his opponents for trying to dominate the region.
“He (Nyerere) is now long dead. What would have happened if the other leaders had gone with his vision?” he queried.
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Museveni and the NRM MPs have faced over the past days one of the most sweeping condemnations countrywide for adjusting the constitution to suit one man’s cravings.
The age limit talk dominated church sermons during the festive season, and several legislators came under direct attack from their voters.
The President says he heard the attacks, but is unmoved.
“I have heard some people talking of “greedy politicians.” Greedy for what? What material benefit do I get from being involved in government or in the struggle? In the last 52 years I have either been working for no pay or for little pay. May be those people talking mean “greedy for sacrifice.”