Rosebell Lauds Successful Chat As Ugandans On Twitter Trash Age Limits Bill
A section of Ugandans on micro-blogging site twitter have unanimously rejected the proposal by lawmakers to remove age limits from the country’s constitution.
In an online chat under the theme; “PEOPLE AGAINST THE LIFTING OF AGE LIMITS IN THE CONSTITUTION” organised by the Centre for Constitutional Governance (CCG) on Wednesday afternoon, many tweeps described as madness, the proposal to eliminate the term limits from the constitution. The chat from 2-5pm was held under the hashtag
“It’s time for Ugandans to stop life presidency madness…Let Constitution remain the way it is now,” Sarah Bireete tweeted during the discussion. She added, “The main reference to Odoki Com was to ensure peaceful handover of power.This meant term & age limits:removal is betrayal.”
The chat had panelists who included the country’s top tweeps in; Rosebell Kagumire, Jacqueline Asiimwe, Akiteng Isabella and Patricia Munabi. It was moderated by Irene Ikomu.
The bill, sponsored by Nakifuma MP Robert Kafeero Ssekitooleko, among other things, seeks to remove limits on the tenure of commissioners of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and extend the retirement age for judges. Nakifuma MP Kafeero Ssekitooleko had initially been expected to table his bill, The Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2016, on August 10, only to withdraw it at the last minute.
On her part, Rosebell argued that the proposal to remove the age limit on the tenure of electoral commission officials further erodes the little trust Ugandans have in the commission.
“Intention to remove age limit for EC adds to an already complicated situation where Ugandan trust in EC is lowest. Majority of Ugandans are below ages 35. We can’t compete favorably if we are locking them out of governing institutions,” she argued.
The bill has received backlash from the public because it is believed that through it, an amendment will be introduced to abolish the constitutional 75-age-limit on the president.
Jacqueline called on Ugandans to make their voices heard on the issues saying, “MPs use delegated power. If we don’t want age limits lifted, we must tell them loud & clear. Use your voice!”
She added, “If MPs are really serious about electoral reforms, citizens already spoke through their compact. Refer to that!”
“We must reach out to the Citizens in the villages, many dont know what’s going on in Parliament. Be true to yourselves. Don’t let Ugandans down. Don’t tamper with the Constitution,” Munabi advised.
Lilian Kagoya, a participant in the chat spoke about the need to have fresh people in positions of authority.
“No office deserves such a law being passed, we need fresh pipo,young and energetic in all fields not even the judiciary,” she tweeted.
According to local reports, the age-limit debate began in July after the Kyankwanzi district NRM conference passed a resolution urging party MPs to move a motion in parliament for the amendment of article 102(b) of the constitution that caps the age of an in- coming president at 75.
Later, Kagumire praised the participation of women in the chat saying, “Really great to see high female engagement! Women of
#Uganda have spoken.” The chat got over 2 million impressions on twitter.