At the end of their four-day retreat at Serena Lake Victoria Resort Kigo in Wakiso district, 18 members of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee endorsed the Raphael Magyezi amendment, which if given the much-needed parliamentary nod of approval would scrap presidential age limits.
The 29-member committee was booked into the luxurious resort after meeting President Museveni.
Committee members opposed to the amendment had threatened to boycott the retreat, however, Medard Lubega Sseggona (Busiro East), Abdu Katuntu (Bugweri) and NRM’s Monicah Amoding (Kumi Woman) eventually turned up at Kigo after their contacts in the committee turned against them.
The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee in ameeting with President Museveni
The Observer understands that as the committee left for State House, those opposed asked Bwamba MP Gafabusa Muhumuza and his Busiki counterpart Paul Akamba to serve as listening posts. But to their surprise, the contacts did not relay any messages but ended up voting in support.
Some of Museveni’s proposals during the December 5 meeting at State House Entebbe were to form part of the committee’s recommendations ahead of the second reading of Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi’s age limit bill.
The recommendations include the extension of the tenure of office of the president and MPs to seven years from the current five provided for under Article 105(1).
The particular clause is one of the entrenched provisions of the constitution under Article 260, which means it cannot be amended through a mere vote in Parliament.
It must go through a national referendum. Museveni first spoke about the extension of office terms during his address to the NRM National Executive committee members at Entebbe. (See: Museveni: 5-year term is too short, The Observer, October 30).
Nakifuma MP Robert Kafeero Ssekitooleko first unsuccessfully hawked the idea during the 9th Parliament. Museveni’s resurrection of the matter saw it controversially slipped into the committee report, but with a recommendation that it be decided through a referendum.
“It is a matter that generated a lot of debate and we decided that we cannot legislate for ourselves, because it is a matter that directly touches us. That’s why we resolved that we leave it to the people to decide,” an MP said.
The second issue recommended for decision through a referendum is restoration of term limits. All MPs at the retreat, except Nansana Municipality’s Robert Ssebunya Kibirige, voted for restoration.
It was the very first time Ssebunya was attending the committee. The two five-year term limits were provided for under Article 105(2) but were scrapped during the 2005 amendment of the constitution.
Though it is not entrenched under Article 260, the committee still recommended that it too be subjected to a referendum.
“Once passed, the amendments shall not benefit us, instead, they will benefit those who will be elected in 2021,” a member of the committee said.
At a press conference on Monday, Sseggona and Wilfred Niwagaba announced that they had compiled a minority report.
The other signatories of the minority report are, Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central), Anna Adeke Ebaju (National Female Youth), Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda (Kira Municipality), Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka Municipality), Katuntu and Amoding.
The Observer has established that their dissension is on the removal of the age limit and the seven-year extension.
The main report was endorsed by Veronica Bichetero (Kaberamaido), Robinah Rwakoojo (Gomba West), Brenda Asinde Suubi (Iganga Woman), Caroline Muhwezi (Rukiga Woman), Sam Bitangaro (Bufumbira South), Kenneth Obote Ongalo (Kalaki) and Aston Kajara (Mwenge South) among others.
On Tuesday, the president met NRM MPs who were anticipating debate on the committee report later in the afternoon.
The meeting discussed the extension of the five-year term. Museveni reportedly told MPs that such an extension will allow Lands minister Betty Amongi who he picked from UPC to settle in well.
A committee of five lawyer MPs headed by deputy attorney general Mwesigwa Rukutana was constituted to study the legal implications of a term extension. Rukutana will work with Bichetero, Obua and Gastur Mugoya.
“The caucus has tasked us to examine it legally, politically and critically to understand the implications of it,” Mugoya said.
The president’s younger brother, Gen Salim Saleh, has been linked to an Internal Security Organisation-funded investigation report released last week which put the spotlight on wasteful expenditure in government ministries and agencies.
In the coming weeks, Bukooli Central MP Solomony Silwany, a member of the investigating team, will table a private member’s bill, urging the merger of various government agencies and authorities to cut down public expenditure.
Last Friday, Silwany, the NRM parliamentary caucus vice chairman, addressed a press conference and gave his government a 30-day ultimatum to table a bill for the scrapping of agencies listed in the November 25 Saleh report to President Museveni as wasteful.
The report titled; Rationalisation of commissions, agencies and authorities in Uganda for better efficiency is based on an investigation by 12 people, referred to as “cadres” in the report.
The 12 cadres were led by Salim Saleh; former deputy chief of defence forces Gen Charles Angina and former state minister for Economic Monitoring Henry Banyenzaki.
Gen Salim Saleh with former deputy chief of defence forces Gen Charles Angina
Their investigation followed a July 12 letter Museveni wrote to leaders in government, demanding information on the cost of the said agencies.
While the report has been widely publicised as the work of ISO, well-placed sources told The Observer that none of the investigating cadres works officially for ISO. But still, their findings were released by Lt Col Joseph Aliganyira, director for political affairs at the security organ, on December 5.
MPs Silwany and Joseph Muyomba Kasozi (Bukoto Mid-West), plus three unnamed Makerere University dons, among them, Ramathan Ngobi, were also involved.
The dons worked alongside a technocrat in investment affairs and an independent researcher. ISO funded the investigation.
“ISO was used because it [the investigation] needed a formal government structure to own it,” a source said.
Banyenzaki said the investigation has been on for nearly two years but gained momentum after Museveni’s July 12 letter.
“It is continuation of the work I was doing as [state] minister for Economic Monitoring…we started on it with Gen Saleh when we were still operating from our command post at Serene [Suites Mutundwe],” Banyenzaki said.
The cadres analysed the 2016/17 national budget, performance and made field trips. It is understood that several agencies were uncooperative, yet unknown to them they were being monitored from within.
“We contacted the listening posts in the agencies who got us all the information that we needed. We then scrutinised the relevant documents, work plans, budgets and their proposed budget requests for next financial year before moving out to all districts for further investigations,” a team member told The Observer.
After receiving the report, Museveni invited some members of the team, notably Banyenzaki and Silwany, to make a presentation to cabinet on December 4 at State House Entebbe. Both Silwany and Kasozi declined to be interviewed for this article.
The report classified the agencies into “money-consuming” and “money-generating parastatals.”
The bulk of waste is on foreign travel, workshops, welfare and entertainment and consultancy services. Most funds (Shs 392.7bn) are spent on consultancy services.
“Public servants are using this channel as a coping strategy to top up [their] incomes, the work they are supposed to do within the ministries is channeled to consultancies, they also use the consultancies as a sanctuary to conceal their poor requisite skills for the work they were employed to perform,” the report noted.
By the end of this financial year, 11 ministries, namely; Lands, Water and Environment, Finance, Agriculture, Energy, Education, Defence, Works, Local Government, Office of the Prime Minister and Health will have spent Shs 290.7bn yet 19 agencies doing similar work will spend Shs 54.9bn on consultants.
Workshops and seminars will consume Shs 104bn, which, according to the report, is enough to run the ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives whose Shs 85bn budget is always not fully funded. Travel accounts for Shs 352.7 billion while Shs 190.6bn was budgeted to cater for welfare and entertainment.
Of Uganda’s Shs 29 trillion budget, more than Shs 3.36 trillion is spent on salaries. Central government takes Shs 1.7 trillion and local governments Shs 1.6 trillion.
The agencies spend 10 percent more on salaries compared to ministries. In ministries, general staff earn much lower than contractual staff.
Ordinary staff at Finance consume Shs 4.3bn while those on contract take Shs 18.7bn. At ministry of Health, ordinary employees share Shs 5.8bn and contract workers take Shs 16.7bn. Jim Mugunga, the Finance ministry spokesman, said the mismatch is due to the level of expertise.
Several people have died inexplicably after undergoing brain surgery at Mengo hospital performed by American doctors between October 23 and 29. Now, the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council and the ministry of Health want to know what went wrong.
Dr Rose Mutumba, the medical director at Mengo hospital, promised to issue a statement, scheduled a press conference and then kept on postponing it. As relatives demand for answers, Mutumba repeatedly said she was busy in meetings and could not comment.
One of the organisers of the medical camp, Dr Joel Kiryabwire, has said he will not comment since the media has already exaggerated the issue, without knowing whether the patients had a high risk of dying or surviving.
The visiting American doctors getting themselves ready at Mengo hospital on October 22. Photo: @alamb
Their combined silence leaves the death of 63-year-old Hajji Mustafah Kisayire unexplained. The former resident of Lukuli Nanganda in Makindye division died on November 29. He had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. His family had hoped that the medical camp run by neurosurgeons from America would help him. According to Hajji Muhamood Katongole, his brother’s problems started in July with a painful eye infection.
Doctors at ASG Eye hospital in Kampala found that his optical nerves were affected and recommended a CT scan. A scan performed at Nsambya hospital revealed Kisayire’s brain tumor.
ASG Eye hospital then advised that the tumor first be removed before any work on his eyes could be considered. Several doctors in Mulago national referral hospital also made the same observation.
Kisayire later consulted Dr Hussein Senyonjo, a neurosurgeon at Platinum Medical Centre, Buganda road, Kampala. Dr Senyonjo said he would operate for Shs 18 million. It took a month to raise the money but when the family went to confirm a date, Dr Senyonjo “told us he wasn’t available for a month since he was travelling to America.”
“He advised us to wait for him after his trip, or go for surgery in this camp. Kisayire refused to wait for a month because of too much pain and requested Senyonjo to recommend him to the camp. Senyonjo connected us to Dr Joel Kiryabwire, a neurosurgeon at Mulago, who was among the organisers of this camp,” Katongole said.
They first deposited Shs 4 million for the operation, an amount which went up to Shs 9.5 million after medication and admission costs were included at Mengo hospital.
“The American doctors came with their equipment which they used in the operation and [set up] three theatres at Albert Cook [ward], where they operated on about 20 people in five days.
“Apart from the pain in the head Kisayire was feeling, the other parts of his body were okay. He came driving himself, understanding properly and was operated on October 25,” Katongole said.
After eight hours in theatre, he was transferred to intensive care for three days and later to the hospital ward for a week. He showed signs of recovering although his memory was weak.
“He was discharged and they told us, he will recover slowly. In that process Issa Kikungwe also came and told us he was going for the same operation for the second time although the first one was done abroad,” Katongole says.
Kikungwe, the former MP for Kyadondo South, died in the Intensive Care Unit. At home, Kisayire relapsed and lost his memory. The family took him back to Mengo hospital where he died.
“I am accusing the American doctors for leaving immediately after the operation without monitoring the patients’ progress as they recover. They would have stayed for two weeks and exchanged ideas with Ugandan doctors and nurses who were monitoring patients. Why were they rushing to go?” Katongole asked.
Hajji Mustafah Kisayire (R) at Mengo hospital. Photo:@alamb
Katongole says the family is preparing a formal petition to the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council (UMDPC). Dr Gubala Katumba Ssentongo, registrar at UMDPC, told The Observer that the Americans’ trip was made with the knowledge of ministry of health.
But this information will be little comfort to Amina Marsal, wife to Hajji Abud Marsal of Entebbe. Marshal says her husband is in critical condition after being operated on in Mengo hospital by the same doctors.
“After the operation on October 23, he spent three weeks in a coma in the Intensive Care Unit at Mengo hospital. We paid Shs 47 million for the operation and medication yet earlier they told us it was free operation in the camp,” she said.
Amina told The Observer that Abud is now paralysed, has lost his memory, can’t eat, move or drink and his head has started swelling. On December 9, state minister for health Sarah Achieng Opendi promised an inquiry.
Opendi said the ministry will establish if the doctors entered the country legally. If they entered illegally, she said, they will be held liable.
“We are going to start investigations after people raising complaints to Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council,” she told The Observer.
Dr Katumba Sentongo said he is waiting for a report from the camp organisers, detailing how many people were operated on, those who died and what went wrong.
“Since we approved them to assist Ugandans, the ministry of Health gave each of them a waiver to allow them work. Other doctors who come here to do business, they pay a fee of $400 (Shs 1.2m) to allow them to work,” Katumba said.
Katumba said UMDPC conducted an independent search and verified their qualifications.
“We also got recommendations from their referees and tracked their background online to confirm their licenses. But what we need to know is what went wrong in this operation. If there is a failure somewhere, the person will be responsible,” he said.
He said they were invited officially by neurosurgeons at Mulago but they worked at Mengo hospital to train doctors in brain surgery and reduce backlog of brain tumor patients. They were 10 doctors and nurses headed by Dr Gerald Arthur Grant and Dr Allen Lin Ho, both registered by the Medical Board of California.
Others were Dr Kimberly Bojanowski Hoang and Dr Michael Martin Haglund, registered in North Carolina as neurological surgeons. Katumba, however, observed that there are always high chances of death with brain surgery. Survival chances are only 15 per cent, he said.
“We haven’t yet started investigations since we haven’t got complainants. In our procedure, we start investigations after a complainant or ministry of health writing to us. The complainants should be responsible for the case,” he said.
Katumba said Uganda has only six practicing neurosurgeons and five cardio-thorax surgeons, all at Mulago. This reality sees experts inviting foreign doctors to come and assist.
“The experts from abroad also come with modern used equipment which they use in these camps and also train our doctors on how to use them. They donate this equipment to us since they are expensive,” he said.
The public relations officer, Mulago, Enock Kusasira, said on Friday that whenever they conduct camps, ministry of health is informed for approval purposes.
In October, UMDPC issued guidelines for all medical surgical camps conducted here, requiring approvals by National Drug Authority, among others. Were those guidelines followed in the case of the dead and dying from Mengo’s brain surgery camp?
Kyambogo University seeks to recruit an additional 234 lecturers so as to handle the soaring number of students.
According to the Vice Chancellor, Professor Elly Katunguka Rwakishaya, currently there are 386 lecturers teaching 25,000 students on campus and another 45,000 in affiliated institutions namely National Teachers Colleges, Primary Teachers' Colleges and a host of other institutions.
He explains that they are involved in talks with the Public Service and Finance and Planning Ministries to allow them recruit 234 lecturers so as to bring the number of academic staff to 620. Professor Katunguka says the increasing number of students is piling pressure on the few academic staff and resources in the university.
"The current 386 trainers and teachers are still below the number of staff required to manage the student numbers and we are in discussions with relevant ministries of our urgent need for more human resources," he said during day one the 14 graduation ceremony held on Wednesday at the university main campus.
136 of the 386 academic staff are Phd holders. This means that they will be able to develop new graduate programmes and to supervise postgraduate students in addition to increasing the number of grants and publications from Kyambogo University.
Prof. Katunguka noted that the university has recruited 60 Graduate Fellows to aid teaching of the students and to fill gaps brought about by under-staffing. Graduate Fellows are the best students who scored first class or second class upper degrees in the recent graduation.
The vice chancellor says these; "Will form the low cadre of academic staff, and this will be the first step in the drive of the university to grow its own professors." According to Prof. Katunguka, due to the high student numbers, they have been hiring over 700 part-time lecturers spread across various faculties and departments.
He however, notes dependence on part time staff comes with a huge financial burden and compromises the quality of teaching. The part timers often hold the university at ransom over accumulated allowances and arrears. The university has also introduced several undergraduate; Masters and doctorate programs.
Some of the new programs that started this year include; Bachelor of Graphics Design, Bachelor of Textile and Apparel design, Bachelor of Interior and landscape design, Bachelor of Science in Leather tanning technology, Bachelor of electrical engineering and Bachelor of Mechatronics and Biomedical engineering.
At Masters Level, the university introduced a Master of Science in Human Nutrition, Master in Special Needs Education, Master of engineering in construction technology, Master of engineering in manufacturing systems, Master of engineering in structural engineering, Master of engineering in Water and Sanitation engineering and a Master of Science in Chemistry in addition to offering Ph.D in sports science and Ph.D in Education.
Majority of the new courses are taught by part-time lecturers and contract staff, which Prof. Katunguka says is unsustainable and asks government to expedite the process to allow them to recruit the required staff.
Luweero Anglican Diocese has directed priests not to contest and participate in the forthcoming Village Council elections, saying it might split their churches.
The Bishop of Luweero Anglican Diocese, Elidad Nsubuga Kironde issued the directive on Sunday shortly after ordaining priests at St Mark Cathedral church in Luweero town.
Those ordained include 30 lay leaders who are still on probation, 17 were confirmed as lay leaders, 3 deacons and one parish priest. In his speech, Bishop Nsubuga warned the priests against contesting in the LC 1 elections, saying those who want to should resign from priesthood.
Bishop Elidad Nsubuga Kironde (C) leaving church on Sunday
He also warned the priests against voting in the polls, arguing the mode of voting by queuing behind candidates is inappropriate and may split the church. He said that some candidates may see priests as traitors if they don't stand behind them during the voting.
The ordained priests and Christians agreed with the bishop's directives. Livingstone Wasswa, a lay leader in Nkuzongere Church of Uganda in Nakaseke, said the bible calls for equal treatment of all Christians and asked priests to stay from divisive politics.
Wasswa said the church welcomes the polls, but he will skip it because he can't queue behind any candidate something that may cause other candidates to hate him. Bernard Ssenyonjo, a lay leader from Kalungi Church of Uganda in Nakasongola, said he took oath to only serve God and doesn't want to pay allegiance to earthly leaders, saying he will skip the elections.
Absolom Bwanika Bbaale a member of St. Mark Cathedral said that the LC I elections will not only create disunity in church but in communities and families.
Other Christian said the queueing behind a candidate voting system may cause the leaders to deny them services, saying they won't participate in the polls. Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama defends the mode of voting, saying it promotes transparency in elections.
EC had planned to hold the LC I polls in November this year. However, a group of under a pressure group dubbed the "The Alternative" dragged the Commission and Attorney General to the High court seeking orders to suspend the elections on grounds that the purported mode of conducting the polls is a threat to fundamental human rights.
They argue that the mode of queuing behind candidates is an infringement on the right to a secret ballot, voter integrity and fair elections as voters will be exposed to intimidation and manipulation.
James Tweheyo, the secretary general Uganda National Teacher's Union also filed a petition before High court challenging the conduct of elections without including students.
Justice Steven Musota issued interim orders, which will remain into force until January 30, 2018.
Masaka district local government has petitioned President Yoweri Museveni over the poor state of roads in the district.
The local government leaders claim that most of the roads that fall directly under the central government are in a very sorry state, which undermines their performance and service delivery to residents.
Godfrey Kayemba, the mayor Masaka municipality, says they intend to awaken government about its responsibility of maintaining the roads under its care. He says the poorly maintained central government roads in the area paint a bad picture of their performance as local government to the public that expect improved services.
The affected roads include among others Broadway, which runs through Masaka town from the Mbarara bypass, Nyendo-Cathedral road and Nyendo-Bukakata road that are currently filled with potholes and ditches.
Petitioned: President Museveni
Joe Walusimbi, the Masaka Resident District Commissioner, says his office is overwhelmed by complaints from the public concerning the poor state of the roads, saying that he spends a lot of time pleading with residents not to demonstrate.
Walusimbi put the blame on Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) for its failure to prioritise roads in Masaka.
"A few days back I was very busy appealing to the Wanaichi not to demonstrate. I called the Unra manager who promised that he was going to work on that stretch in the first week of this month", said Walusimbi.
Peter Ssenkungu, the Masaka district NRM party chairperson also confirmed that the public is agitated because of the poor state of government roads in Masaka. He asked government to provide Unra the required resources to fix the roads to save them from the pending political anger.
Ssenkungu is equally concerned that some of the affected roads have repeatedly featured in the national budget, but they haven't been worked on, which raises doubt in the public about government's commitment.
The leaders have forwarded a joint petition to the president through the government manifesto implementation unit; demanding that their concerns are addressed with urgency.
Fred Kamugira, the deputy director of the manifesto implementation unit in the President's Office who is leading a team that is assessing progress on the implementation of the NRM manifesto in the region, has acknowledged the problem, promising to bring it to the attention of the president.
The Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has pulled out of the race for Ruhaama county MP seat over failure by prospective candidates to raise nomination fees.
Mr Kenneth Kagundu Kabombora was expected to carry the party’s flag in the by-election. He stood in the 2016 elections and emerged third in the race after the late William Beijukye Zinkurateire and Mr Kakyene Namanya Santurina.
The Ntungamo District FDC chairperson Mr George Karamira says the party will not be presenting a candidate in the race as all the prospective candidates have failed to raise fees for nominations.
“The challenge is money. We have people willing to stand but they have failed to raise the nomination fees. I have not stamped anyone’s papers and I know there is no one coming for the same and therefore, we shall not be having a candidate for Ruhaama seat,” Mr Karamira told Daily Monitor.
The ruling NRM candidate, Mr Moses Kahima Mugabe was nominated on Monday afternoon.
The district electoral commissioner Mr Robert Beine said they were expecting other three candidates to pick nomination forms on the independent tickets but had not turned up yet.
The candidates; Dr Pamela Beinomugisha Jumbo, Mr Eric Boora and Ms Orishaba Vastinah picked the nomination papers.
However, another MP hopeful, Mr Santurina Kakyene Namanya also pulled out of the race. He said we will not be contesting over financial constraints in addition to not trusting the exercise.
“I think the process is highly monetized. There is a lot of intimidation of voters by the NRM and security organs. In fact the RDC said they would arrest me if I came to stand when the electoral commission held a consultative meeting and the people who harassed me in the past campaign still exist,” Mr Kakyene said.
The Ruhaama county MP seat fell vacant following the death of Beijukye on October 4, 2017. Beijukye had represented the constituency for at about 18 months after replacing the First Lady Janet Museveni who did not stand in the 2016 elections.
Parliament- Voting in Parliament for amendment of Article 102(b) to remove the presidential age limit from the Constitution will be delicately poised with MPs split between 168 in support, 92 against and 57 undecided, a new survey reveals.
Parliament is in the process of amending Article 102 (b) of the Constitution which bars any person aged below 35 or above 75 from standing for President.
The Constitution Amendment Bill 2017 presented to Parliament by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi has now been adopted by the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.
Under the Article, President Museveni, now aged 73, will be ineligible for re-election at the next election in 2021.
Daily Monitor contacted 336 of 436 MPs who are entitled to vote in Parliament but 317 responded to our questions.
Of the 317 MPs that responded, 168 MPs (53 per cent) indicated that they will vote for the removal of age limit, 92 (29 per cent) said they will vote against it while 57 (18 per cent) remained undecided, saying they were still consulting their electorate in their constituencies.
A total of 115 MPs (27 per cent at the time the poll was done) did not respond to our calls to participate in the poll.
On political party basis, 147 MPs (50 per cent) of NRM support the removal of age limit, 20 MPs (seven per cent) are against while 44 (14 per cent) were undecided and 85 (29 per cent) did not respond.
In Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party, 31 (86 per cent) of the 36 MPs polled indicated they will vote against the removal of age limit while five (14 per cent) did not respond.
In Democratic Party (DP), 13 MPs (92 per cent) said they will vote against the removal of age limit while one (8 per cent) did not respond.
Ms Betty Amongi, the Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, is the only MP from Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) party who indicated she will vote for the removal of age limit.
Four of the party’s MPs said they will vote against while one did not respond.
Capt Evelyn Asiimwe is the only Army MP who indicated she would vote for removal of the age limit.
Seven out of the 10 MPs of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) did not respond to our calls while two said they were undecided.
For the 66 Independent MPs, 24 (37 per cent) indicated they will vote against the removal of age limits, 16 (25 per cent) supported, 11 (16 per cent) were undecided while 14 (22 per cent) did not respond.
For the Constitution Amendment Bill to pass through, the NRM will require support of not less than two-thirds of the 436 MPs entitled to vote- meaning that the ruling party requires a vote of 290 MPs to change the Constitution to remove age limit.
There are 18 ex-officios in Parliament who are not entitled to a vote.
Article 262 of the Constitution states that a Bill for an Act of Parliament to amend any provision of the Constitution, other than those referred to in Articles 260 and 261, shall not be taken as passed unless it is supported at the second and third readings by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all Members of Parliament.
Rule 89 of the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure stipulate that voting at the second and third readings of the Bill for an Act of Parliament to amend a provision of the Constitution has to be by roll call and tally.
For roll call and tally, the Clerk to Parliament will have to call each of the 436 MPs to openly vote “Yes” or “No” to the removal of the presidential age limit or to abstain.
This was the voting method used by the Eighth Parliament in 2005 to amend Article 105 (2) and delete the presidential term limits which would have barred Mr Museveni from contesting in 2006 elections, having completed the two five-year terms from 1996.
For the removal of term limits, 218 MPs voted for, 53 against and two- Army MP Fred Bogere and Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah (Omoro County), who was then chairman of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, which had considered the Bill, abstained from the vote.
With 302 MPs in the national assembly, NRM commands a numerical advantage but cracks have been simmering within its ranks with opposition to the removal of age limit growing.
The party caucus on October 12 turned rowdy after Mr Museveni ordered that MPs opposed to the removal of the age limit be kicked out of the meeting.
What analysts say
Dr Frederick Golooba-Mutebi, a political researcher, says the figures illustrate to Mr Museveni that the proposal to remove the age limit is not very popular but explains that the MPs may change positions on voting day.
“The most significant thing from the figures is that it shows to President Museveni that the proposal he is pushing through does not enjoy overwhelming support. What the figures show is that Museveni may not win the vote for the Bill at first round. But we also don’t know when voting on the Bill will be,” Dr Golooba-Mutebi says.
The Opposition has 55 MPs (FDC 35, DP 14 and UPC, six) and 66 Independents, with a majority of the latter being NRM-leaning having lost in the disputed party primaries and opted to run on individual merit.
However, 20 MPs of NRM indicated they will vote against the removal of age limit, rejecting resolutions by the party’s Central Executive Committee, National Executive Committee and Parliamentary Caucus which all endorsed the Constitution amendment. Asked how the party will deal with dissenting MPs, NRM Caucus vice chairperson Solomon Silwany [Bukholi Central] said a caucus meeting would be convened before Parliament resumes to discuss the way forward.
“We will have a Caucus to discuss. If its voters who did not accept the removal of age limit, as the NRM Caucus executive, we shall go to the constituency and find out what they are saying.
But also, as the NRM Caucus executive, we cannot depend on the results of the Daily Monitor poll. We know that some of the MPs you mentioned will vote yes,” Mr Silwany said.
He declined to respond to whether NRM will take disciplinary action against the dissenting MPs.
Dr Frederick Kisekka-Ntale, a political analyst, says while the survey could help gauge the perceptions of the MPs, it should not be forgotten that they have two faces; one for the public and the other for the political party they subscribe to.
“When the Bill is brought to the House, it is obvious the NRM will carry the day. All Bills in which the party had an interest have sailed through. I do not think it will be any different with this [Constitution Amendment Bill 2017],” Dr Kisekka Ntale says.
HOW WE DID THE SURVEY
Daily Monitor journalists in November telephoned or contacted in person all the 436 Members of Parliament with voting rights.
One hundred fifteen neither received nor returned our telephone calls. The voting pattern of the 317 we have used for the reporting captures the publicly-proclaimed positions of those lawmakers who were unable to respond to our inquiry.
Each of the MPs we reached was asked: Do you support the lifting of the presidential age limit? The responses were based on telephone interviews, face to face interviews and public positions taken since the matter was brought before Parliament.
Compiled by Moses Kyeyune, Solomon Arinaitwe, Nelson Wesonga, Francis Mugerwa, Felix Basiime, Scovia Atuhaire, Alfred Tumushabe, Robert Muhereza, Zadock Amanyisa, Felix Ainebyoona & Perez Rumanzi, Gertrude Mutyaba, Sadat Mbogo, Christopher Kisekka and Moses Muwulya
Afrobarometer, The Observer newspaper, and the civil society have recently issued surveys on the age limit.
Tomorrow, we look at MPs’ voting patterns by region.
KAMPALA- More than Shs71 billion has been recovered by government following successful prosecution of more than 200 corruption cases since the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Court nine years ago.
This was revealed yesterday by judicial officials during the Anti-Corruption Court open day celebrations held in Kampala under the theme “Restoring integrity in Public Service. Regaining citizenship trust in the anti-corruption fight.”
Breaking down the facts, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Justice Mike Chibita, said in his office they have a zero tolerance policy against corruption and they are always mindful of the fact that one of the ways through which they can gain public trust is to execute their mandate with utmost integrity.
Justice Chibita said some prominent convicts from whom court recovered the money include one David Sserwamba and six others whom court convicted and ordered to pay $1.27m (about Shs4.5b), Valentino Kamya, whose case was handled through a plea bargain and was ordered to pay Shs8.4b, as well as get a three-year custodial sentence.
“Others are Geoffrey Kazinda [former principal accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister] and three others, we have managed to get two convictions and an order for Shs316m and a third case of Shs2.1 billion is on defence hearing,” Justice Chibita said.
“Uganda Versus Jimmy Lwamafa [former permanent secretary, ministry of Public Service] and two others, these have already been convicted over diversion of pension funds and ordered to pay back to government Shs50 billion in addition to custodial sentences. Another is of John Kashaka [former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government] and five others, commonly known as the bicycles case, they were ordered to refund $1,719,454 (about Shs6.1b),” he added.
Justice Chibita said upon realising that corruption is motivated by profit, his office established an asset recovery division whose mandate is to ensure that criminals are deprived of their illicit profits. This is through effective identification and seizure of crime profits by enforcement of asset recovery orders.
The deputy Inspector General of Government, Mr George Bamugemereire, said the theme re-echoes the principles outlined in Objective 26 of the national objectives in the Constitution which compels all persons placed in positions of leadership to hold offices in trust for the people and to be answerable to the people.
“We have undertaken to improve the capacity to detect, investigate and prosecute grand and high profile corruption cases by setting up the directorate of special investigations, which we have given a threshold of Shs1 billion, they can investigate,” Mr Bamugemereire said.
He said currently, they have asked the court to focus on about five main investigations which include the recent report about the Uganda National Roads Authority fraud, Ministry of Health, Rural Electrification Agency and the Ministry of Local Government, among others.
Opposition Members of Parliament today launched anti-age limit removal campaign activities ahead of tabling of a report on the Constitutional Amendment No.2 Bill 2017 next week.
Addressing journalists at Parliament, Butambala MP Muwanga Kivumbi said that the new campaign code-named 'Togikwatako week' and will run for the next seven days. "We are declaring next week as 'Togikwatako' week", Kivumbi said.
Loosely translated to mean 'don't touch' the Constitution, 'Togikwatako' is a term that was coined by politicians opposed against the proposed scrapping of the presidential age limit. They eventually selected red ribbons as a symbol of their defiance against the proposed scrapping of Article 102(b), which currently caps the presidential age at between 35 and 75 years.
MP Muwanga Kivumbi addressing the media at Parliament today
Kivumbi says that for the next one week starting on Monday they will 'paint the entire country red'. The 'Togikwatako week' activities include calling on the electorate to persistently call their MPs and warn them against lifting the presidential age limit, visiting homes of MPs, and dressing in red colour attires from head to toes.
“The country is going to be painted red and [police boss] Gen Kale Kayihura can’t stop the wind that is going to blow in the country,” Kivumbi also internal affairs shadow minister said.
"We have also ensured that a group of activists are going to be calling phones of MPs, better leave them on, hundreds and thousands of people are going to call MPs. By the way be free to call them and tell them 'Gikwateko' [touch it] but we are sure if they listen to voice of Ugandans, majority are going to be telling them 'Togikwatako", Kivumbi added.
He further said that they are going to mount a parade along Parliamentary Avenue on the day the report will be tabled before parliament so that every MP who enters parliament to debate it shall have a guard of honor by Ugandans telling them to resist the proposed amendment.
The MPs including Rukungiri Municipality MP Roland Mugume, Rubaga North MP Moses Kasibante, Kalungu West MP Joseph Ssewungu, Kawempe North MP Latif Ssebaggala and Kyotera Woman MP Robinah Ssentongo among others vowed to mobilise constituents for a parade along Parliament Avenue where MPs headed to Parliament will be met with a crowd of voters ahead of the anticipated tabling of the report next Tuesday.
It is expected that the Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi’s 'age limit' bill next week.
"Every Ugandan of all works of life and of all persuasion we’re requesting you beginning Monday the colour of dressing is red. This time all people of Uganda are being asked to add whatever they can in their own smallness to show that they are for ‘Togikwatako’.
Businesses will be closed, there will be a series of activities. By the way we’re going to have a daily press conference up to Tuesday. We’ll be briefing you, some actions we cannot announce them now because of the nature of what they’re but we have now really rallied", Kivumbi said.
The MPs warned the Parliamentary police and Sergeant-at-Arms that they don't expect any foreign security operatives at parliament next week as the case was in September during the tabling of the presidential age limit motion.
"This Parliament is a temple, we do not expect to see SFC [Special Forces Command], and we do not expect a barricade around this Parliament. And we want open voting, not secret voting. We even expect the Office of the Speaker to be fair, we don't expect other excuses we got that people were deployed here without our knowledge." said Kivumbi.
According to Article 262 of the Constitution, at the second and third readings of the bill, NRM needs the support of not less than two-thirds of all members of parliament.
MPs warn police, UCC
The opposition MPs also appealed to police not to interrupt their planned week-long campaign, saying that Ugandans will be exercising their constitutional right of defending the Constitution. Kivumbi claimed that the ongoing police operations within the city and its outskirts are aimed at intimidating residents.
"Under the Public Order Management Act (POMA) there’s a provision called spontaneous gatherings. We’re not organising any rallies, the people of Uganda are going to come up in their own way and the law protects them because we’re not saying they are going to come in thousands. They are not going to demonstrate on that day, the people of Uganda are simply going to walk to Parliament one by one not even in a group", Kivumbi said.
Adding; "Simply go to the next trading centre in Buhweju and watch TV. People of Uganda will simply wait for their MP to make for them a parade as they enter Parliament in their own way. So the police should be informed that. Police should keep law and order, they should go to banks and ensure that there is no disruption, they should go to shop and ensure nobody interferes. They should leave Ugandans with the constitutional right to participate and to influence the affairs of their country."
Rubaga North MP, Moses Kasibante appealed to Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to leave Ugandans debate the age limit matter peacefully without gagging the media and stopping live broadcast next week. Prior to the tabling of the 'Age Limit' motion and bill, UCC directed Television stations not to broadcast live the events in Parliament. The move drew angry reactions from media freedom activists.
The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee chaired by the West Budama South MP Jacob Oboth-Oboth embarked on the process of drafting the report on the Constitutional (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2017 on Wednesday after meeting President Yoweri Museveni. The committee is locked up at Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort-Kigo in Wakiso district.