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RUSH HOUR: NRM Caucus Moves to Whip Up Support for Age Limit Bill

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) Parliament Caucus is set to meet in Kampala ahead of today’s much-anticipated debate on the Age Limit Bill.

The party’s Deputy Chief Whip, Solomon Silwanyi confirmed the ruling party lawmakers will have a separate meeting just hours before the Parliament’s legal committee presents its report to plenary for debate.

“Yes, it is correct, we will have our caucus meeting at the Office of The Prime Minister today,” said Silwanyi in an interview with ChimpReports on Tuesday.

It’s anticipated President Museveni will chair this hugely critical meeting.

Officials separately told us MPs will be told to support NRM’s stand on the Bill.

The Constitution (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2017 seeks to amend the Constitution to provide adequate time within which to hold presidential, parliamentary and local government elections and to alter eligibility requirements for persons standing for President or District Chairperson.

It also intends to increase the number of days within which to file and determine a presidential election petition; and to increase the number of days within which the Electoral Commission is required to hold a fresh election where a presidential election is annulled by court.

Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda recently said the planned Constitution Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2017 has the support of Cabinet and the key organs of the NRM including the Central Executive Committee and National Executive Committee as it addresses “key loopholes in the governance of the country.”

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However, government has since come under fire for using Parliament to entrench President Museveni’s stay in power.

Rugunda said government supports the proposal to delete Art. 102 (b) “to remove the discriminatory spirit and practice” preventing citizens of sound mind” below 35 years and above 75 years from running for President of Uganda.

“The issue of presidential election should be left to the people to decide. Political parties should be at liberty to determine who their flag bearer is,” said Rugunda adding that “Consideration should be on one’s ability to lead the country to address the challenges facing the people. A leader whether young or old, should be given the opportunity to present himself or herself to the people to make their choice.”

The focus on today’s debate comes high on the heels of violent scenes on the floor of Parliament during which suspended opposition lawmakers fought deadly battles with security forces.

The Speaker suspended 25 MPs including a Minister for disrupting House proceedings over the contentious bill.

In trying to evict the suspended MPs, security was called into the House leading to a scuffle in which MPs and staff were injured.

The Bill was later tabled and referred to the legal committee which conducted wide consultations on the matter.

President Museveni has since expressed support for the Bill, saying Ugandans should decide on who leads them.

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