Top religious leaders from different denominations have called on the government of Uganda to consider carrying out a referendum before proceeding with efforts to table the controversial bill to remove the presidential age limit.
A September 18 statement by the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU, says that the above is the right procedure, considering Article 1 of the constitution (1995) unequivocally provides for “people’s power”.
“As religious leaders, it is our esteemed view that the issue of age limit is not a partisan issue to be monopolized by NRM and opposition politicians,” reads the statement in part.
“The issue is national in character and the debate should be extended to the people of Uganda, as they are the sole constitutionally-mandated custodians of power to determine the destiny of our nation.”
Ever since information about the tabling of the article 102(b) of the constitution started making rounds, tension has risen in the country, with sections of Ugandans rallying others to task their MPs to oppose the idea on different platforms.
Last week, a lot of bitter exchanges were made among legislators, notable among them junior investments Minister Evelyne Anite who assured opponents to the bill like Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko that come what may, given they are the ruling party (NRM), the bill mist be passed.
Addressing the nation on the contentious proposed land amendments recently at Entebbe State House, President Museveni explicitly stated there is room for amendment of articles in the Constitution including the contentious presidential age limit.
The proposal has so far been endorsed by cabinet and if all goes as planned; the Private Members’ Bill will be tabled on the floor on Thursday September 21 by Hon Raphael Magezi.
Observing what is so far transpiring, the clerics called the situation, “to say the least, worrying.”
The leaders also revealed that post-independence history characterized by political and constitutional instability; oppression and exploitation, which inspired the insertion of Presidential Term and Age limits, should not be forgotten.
They have thus settled for 5 recommendations which include: entrenching the issue on the agenda of the proposed National Dialogue to involve all Ugandans, urged Mps supporting or opposing age limit to first seek advice and opinion from the constituents.
Additionally, they have asked security agencies to stop favoring sides, and that the debate on age limit should be “based on principles and not positions, dwelling on individuals instead of emphasizing the common good and posterity.”
Finally, religious head have called upon the President “whom our Constitution bestows the title of Fountain of Honor to assert true statesmanship on this matter.”
The church leaders include; Sheik Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje, the grand mufti of Uganda; Rev. Stanley Ntagali, Archbishop church of the Province of Uganda; Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga, Archbishop, Orthodox church; Dr. Daniel Matte, President Seventh-day Adventist Union; Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, Archbishop Kampala Archdiocese; Dr. Joseph Serwada, president Born Again Faith; and Bishop Joseph Joshua Lwere, general overseer, national alliance of Pentecostal and evangelical churches in Uganda.