President Yoweri Museveni has said Ugandan MPs would have the final say on the presidential age limit.
The president spoke on Wednesday night, a day after a joint caucus of the ruling NRM and Independent MPs passed a resolution to move the motion in Parliament on Thursday. The move will pave the way for a Bill to amend Article 102(b) to scrap the presidential age limit.
President Museveni, however, was quick to explain that the law sets guidelines on how the Constitution can be amended and MPs would follow that process.
“About the NRM people who were yesterday [Tuesday] involved in an activity [of passing a resolution to table a motion]. That was not the official NRM caucus. But they are NRM people who have brought their views. In Runyakole (president's vernacular), we call them Nyekundire [volunteers]. Originally, they were provoked by malicious people,” President Museveni said.
Lacking vigour to rule
President Museveni declined to give an answer when asked by the Daily Monitor newspaper to definitively indicate whether he would run for the top office in 2021.
Questioned whether he still maintained the position he gave in a 2012 interview with NTV that someone who clocks 75 years lacked the vigour to rule as president, Mr Museveni made a U-turn and said it was the work of medical doctors to determine that.
“I think you should ask the medical doctors. I should not interfere with their work. You should get a medical report about the fitness of someone past 75 years. On whether that person is physically fit to lead or not,” President Museveni said.
In 2012, President Museveni told NTV that he would not support the amending of the Constitution to scrap presidential age limit, saying active leaders were those below 75 years.
“I know there are some leaders who have been leading even beyond the age of 75 but I think if you want very active leaders; it is good to have ones below the age of 75. That is in the Constitution now. And I will not involve myself in wanting to change that. Because I think there is some scientific logic behind it,” President Museveni told NTV in 2012.
It was not clear whether the motion seeking leave to introduce the Private Member’s Bill would be handled on Thursday because the Order Paper for the day’s business in Parliament was due to be circulated at 1pm (+3GMT).
President Museveni has been in power since 1986 and is one of Africa's longest serving head of State.