President Yoweri Museveni has given a blind eye to a much contested matter regarding his age in the coming elections.
We reported the publication of the Constitution Amendment Bill 2015 in the Uganda Gazette yesterday.
Responding to the demanded electoral and constitutional reforms, government focused on the Electoral Commission (changed to an Independent Electoral Commission), Judiciary and City Land Boards.
Retirement age of judges lifted to 75 years
The government in the amendments is also suggesting increasing the retirement age for Justices of Supreme Court and Court of Appeal from 70 to 75 years.
The retirement age for Judges of High Court age retirement age is likely to be shifted to seventy years from the current sixty five years limit.
If the amendments sail through, the Judicial Service Commission will now be given power to appoint, remove and discipline certain members of the judiciary.
Museveni remains appointing authority
According to the bill, the members of the Electoral Commission shall be appointed by the President with the approval of Parliament.
The bill also proposes a tribunal to determine the removal of a member of the Independent Electoral Commission.
The President will according to the Bill be responsible for the appointment of the tribunal.
Ignores opposition suggestions and Museveni age limit
Most of the suggestion by civil society and major Political parties under the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) have been ignored.
Shadow Minister for justice and Constitutional Affairs, Medard Lubega Ssegona, told URN that they will wait for the bill at the committee level to push for what had been suggested in the citizen’s compact.
The Bill is also silent on the return of the two-term Presidential term limits as previously demanded by the opposition and civil society groups.
The two term Presidential term limits in the Ugandan Constitution was lifted during the 2005 constitutional amendments.
The Bill does not also mention of the removal the Presidential age limit.
The removal of the Presidential age limit has recently been subject of debate.
A case is currently in the Constitutional Court filed by a man allied to former Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, seeking to block the ruling NRM party chairman, Yoweri Museveni, from running for President again.
According to Benjamin Alipanga, the petitioner, Museveni will be above the constitutional age limit, 75 years, by 2016 when the country expects to go into presidential elections.
In his petition, Alipanga insists Museveni is ineligible to contest for presidency in 2016 because “he will be 75 and will not serve the full five-year term because Article 103 (b) bars a person above 75 to be elected president”.
He wants the Electoral Commission not to register Museveni as a presidential candidate until the matter is resolved in courts of law.
Yet, the First Lady, Janet Kataaha Museveni, says all this talk about age limit is just shocking and disgusting, that’s all.