MPs propose extend presidential term limit
Sunday, 27th February, 2011
NRM MPS WANT TERM LIMITS RAISED
By Mary Karugaba, Barbra Among
and Pascal Kwesiga
A week after President Yoweri Museveni was voted in for the fourth term, his party MPs are planning to have the presidential term extended from five to seven years.
James Kakooza, who hatched the plan to have Museveni run for a third and fourth term in office, is the brain behind the proposal.
Kakooza wants Parliament to extend the presidential term from five to seven years and reinstate the term limits so that Museveni serves 14 more years after his term expires in 2016.
Asked if he would contest in 2016, Museveni recently said: “The party would determine but I have my own opinion.” He, however, did not say what his opinion was.
Kakooza’s proposal will require a constitutional amendment since Article 105(1) says a president shall hold office for a term of five years.
In an interview yesterday, Kakooza said the move should be debated by the ninth Parliament so that it takes effect in 2016 when the current five-year term limit ends.
“A five-year term is hopeless. We started campaigns almost in May last year, the President will be sworn in May. A year is already wasted.
Developing rules of procedure and settling will also take us another year. What can you do in three years time?” Kakooza asked.
Last year, Kakooza convinced his NRM colleagues to back Museveni to run for a fourth elective term of office unopposed. The new proposal has, however, irked some politicians.
Former presidential candidates, Kizza Besigye (FDC) and Norbert Mao (DP), termed the proposal as diversionary in an interview with NT-Uganda.
While Mao labelled Kakooza “a puppet of President Yoweri Museveni”, Besigye said: “This is just diversionary tactics from the real issues raised about these flawed elections.”
Kakooza, however, insisted he was serious. “I am an independent thinker. I initiated the third term idea and people bought it,” Kakooza said.
Political commentators warn that apart from the constitutional amendment, the proposal has financial implications.
Before it can be passed, a Cabinet minister picks up the proposal and writes a Cabinet white paper. It is then tabled in the House and debated.
The House then sends it to the parliamentary legal and parliamentary affairs committee, which conducts a public hearing and debate on the proposal.
The committee then reports back to the house for the final debate before it is voted on.
While a section of MPs welcomed the proposal, others have described it as undemocratic.
Opposition MP Odonga Otto (FDC) said he would welcome the idea if it involved reinstatement of the presidential term limits.
“The country has become a project for a few people and this proposal is not from Kakooza alone but from somebody above him,” said Pader Woman MP Franca Akello (FDC).
Henry Banyenzaki (NRM) said there was no justification to extend the number of years for the president; saying the proposal showed the level of commercialisation of politics in Uganda.
Erias Lukwago (DP), the shadow attorney general, criticised Kakooza for “sowing seeds of anarchy.”
“How can he introduce such a debate when we are fighting President Museveni’s stay in power? It is not in good faith,” Lukwago said.
Livingstone Okello-Okello (UPC) said Kakooza’s proposal would go through as long as the NRM had the highest number of MPs. “I blame Ugandans for not saying no to such MPs. It is a dangerous situation,” Okello-Okello said.
KISANJA PASSES 1ST VOTE
Richard Mutumba, Gerald Walulya & Emma Mutaizibwa
28 June 2005
Parliament — The Constitution Amendment Bill that includes the proposal to lift presidential term limits passed the first major step in Parliament after pro-Movement MPs voted overwhelmingly to send it to the next stage. A total of 232 members voted in support of the motion seeking to commit Constitution (Amendment) Bill No.3 to the committee stage where each clause will be considered independently.
Fifty MPs opposed the motion, while one, UPDF representative Col. Fred Bogere, abstained.
LACK OF QUORUM DOGS HOUSE THROUGH 2004
7 January 2005
Kampala — Last year presented mixed fortunes for the Seventh Parliament. Important documents including the Ssempebwa Report and the White Paper were tabled. On the other hand, business in the House came to near halt due to lack of quorum on most committees. Henry Mukasa and Milton Olupot look at Parliament through the year.
Lack of quorum has dogged Parliament through the year. And if the rule was that quorum was needed before any session began, there would have been two or three sittings. Quorum is only required before a vote is taken to pass a Bill.