NRM MPs want to lift Museveni term to 7 years


The ruling National Resistance Movement [NRM] elect Members of Parliament are currently at Kyankwanzi in a retreat.

Top on the agenda is a move to change the constitution and revise the term of office from the current 5 to 7 years.

In 2012, President Yoweri Museveni brushed aside the debate on presidential term limit by NRM MPs, arguing that what is important is for Ugandan voters to vote in and out as they wish any contestant for the highest national office in the land during elections.

In 2013, the ruling party retreat in Kyankwanzi saw some tense moments after Buyaga West representative Barnabas Tinkasiimire confronted President Museveni over his long stay in power, before advising him that it was time he retired.

The President side-stepped the challenge, opting not to answer him directly.

Uganda’s Constitution, which was promulgated in 1995, under Article (105) clause 2 had provided for two five-year terms for a president.

But in 2005, President Museveni, having served his two constitutional terms, had Parliament change the Constitution by scrapping term limits hence giving him a third shot at office, and subsequently an unlimited timeframe to remain a contestant in any elections.

The controversy and debate stirred by the removal of term limits resulted in Museveni losing some of his old comrades, many of whom have since joined the opposition.

Former ethics minister Miria Matembe, who was sacked from Cabinet for opposing their removal.

In Kyankwanzi, Amama Mbabazi, then Prime Minister, moved to forestall any further discussion on term limits and the succession question.

In 2015, the ruling party retreat once more allegedly plotted to endorse sweeping changes to the Constitution, including lifting the presidential age limit, amid fears that this could plunge the country into political chaos.

The most controversial ones are the removal of the presidential age limit of 75 and extending, by two years, the five-year tenure of the government beyond its expiry date of 2016.

In July 2015, Ugandan Members of Parliament regretted removing presidential term limits and resorted to cursing each other.


Museveni arriving at Kyankwanzi for NRM retreat March 14, 2016

In June 2005, a total of 232 MPs voted in favour of the motion, 50 against and one abstained leading to the scrapping of term limits.

The latest indicates that the same old discussion is ongoing at Kyankwanzi to increase Museveni’s five year-term with two more years.

This means the president would rule up to 2023 instead of 2021.

Speaking in Ethiopia last year, US president, Barack Obama, pushed for the restoration of term limits in African states.

Museveni fired back saying he did not care what Obama thinks but that Ugandans elected him fairly.

In an interview with BBC in February 2016, Museveni said Africans do not believe in term limits and that it was not about who was in power but what was being done.

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