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{UAH} Like the 2016 Mbabazi election petition, the #AgeLimit debate favors Museveni

Like the 2016 Mbabazi election petition, the #AgeLimit debate favors Museveni

When Museveni lost in the February 2016 elections, he resorted to a military takeover but remained worried about legitimacy. Luck fell when Mbabazi who had been allotted 130,000 votes and came third after Besigye's 3.5M and Museveni's 5.6M, opted to go to court. The court ruling in favour of Museveni has since then become his only source of legitimacy.

He is now faced with another hurdle of the constitutional age limit of 75 years. At the next polls in 2021, he will be beyond 75 years hence he has to amend the Constitution to either scrap the age limit or extend it to one hundred and seventy-five.

In August 2016 Museveni used the Nakifuma M.P, Kafeero Ssekitoleko to table a private members bill seeking to amend the Constitution to scrap the age limit. The move was rejected by the House which ruled that government should line up and present all the articles to be amended in one shot. The big question is why bring up the issue of age limit now when we still have three and a half years to 2021 when the next general elections are to be held?

The simple answer is that by Ugandans debating Museveni's age limit now, it helps overshadow his illegitimacy that arose from the February 2016 military takeover. It creates an impression that he is accepted as the legitimate president of Uganda and that the only impediment to his presidency is the age limit.

The Speaker of Parliament tasked the Attorney General to clarify on the matter and he made it clear that the regime has no such plans. If the Speaker had been serious she should have asked the Minister of Justice, Gen. Otafiire who had broken the news. Earlier on during the burial of Ssebana Kizito, Otafiire disclosed that the matter would be dissolved by Parliament. Alternatively, the Speaker should have asked M.P Abriga who is being fronted by the regime to recklessly market the move. Most intriguing is the fact that even the three regime youths who were arrested by the regime police at Makerere University as they protested against the Age Limit bill could have been stage-managed.

Their leader, Rutaro is the same person who led the move to block Gen. Kalekyezi from being prosecuted over gross human rights violations at Makindye court. In Mbarara, the university students who carried a coffin bearing Museveni's portrait with words "REST IN PEACE MUSEVENI" were brutally arrested by the police and are held incommunicado as the police chief pitches camp in Mbarara. The chest thumping by some pro change Ugandans following the AG's statement was uncalled for because nothing has been achieved. At the right time, Museveni, will constitutionally remove the Age Limit in the same way he did with the Term Limit.

Therefore, Ugandans shouldn't be diverted into being preoccupied by the Age Limit debate instead of consistently focussing on the unfinished business of the February 2016 military take over. Moreover, lifting of age limit is not such a big deal for Museveni. He does not derive his powers from the Constitution but from the barrel of the gun.



"When a man is stung by a bee, he doesn't set off to destroy all beehives"

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