MinBane

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A look into how the removal of term limits: How it opened the door for Life Presidency for President Museveni!

A frequent claim by African leaders seeking to abolish term limits is that their campaigns reflect popular demand (Baker, 2002). The fact that all incumbents who have removed presidential term limits have gone on to win subsequent elections is presented as post-facto evidence of citizens’ preference for the stability that comes with leadership continuity rather than rotation (Blunt & Jones, 1997). Yet rarely are ordinary African citizens allowed formal space to make their voices heard in these debates. Instead, term-limit advocates fight for space, often in the streets and sometimes at great risk to their lives. Therefore we understand that the majority of cases – 20 of the 36 instances in which presidents faced term limits – are ones in which incumbent presidents simply stepped down in accordance with the constitution” (Eze, 2016).

Today I will look into the deep change of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda. The time before the General Election of 2006, when the Parliament changed the rules for the President. From changing it from having two terms limits for a President and making sure President Museveni could continue to rule the Republic. President Museveni really tried to control the Constitutional Committee who was writing the draft and making the articles for the 1995 Constitution. Clearly, all of the advice he didMovement System n’t follow. Therefore, they even added three pieces of legislation that has affected his presidency. This being Multi-Party Democracy, instead of the Movement System, Two Presidential Terms and 75 years age limit. The latest is the one that is causing havoc and trouble in the Republic.

Back in the day, the Constitution that was started on 4 years into the National Resistance Movement reign, about 1990s and was finished in 1994, before the 7th Parliament voted on it. Since there was no need for a referendum, people had already decided and been apart of process. The referendum that has been was on the Multi-Party Democracy and voted on twice. There was none when they took away the Term Limits in the Parliament in 2005, a year before the General Election in 2006. Therefore, it is important to look at the Constitutional process and arguments for the Presidential Terms, because it shows the hypocrisy of the NRM today and that is not about Museveni. All changes to the Constitution is about Museveni and his cronies. That will be showed with the old and newer articles collected here!

“… the .body to officially debate the draft constitution should be as fully representative of the people as possible . . we recommended . . a new body, the Constituent Assembly, composed mainly of directly elected delegates plus representatives of some interest groups to carry out those roles on behalf of the people.” This recommendation was accepted by government and Legal Notice No 1 of 1986 was accordingly amended to provide for this. A statute providing for the establishment of, and elections to, the Constituent Assembly as well as the powers and functions or that Assembly was also enacted” (Wapakhabulo, 2001).

He you saw how they started the draft Constitution on behalf of the people, where they also closed the doors for Multi-Party Democracy and open the door for Movement System. This was brutal for the parties of Democratic Party, Uganda People’s Congress and the Conservative Party. They we’re all thrown to the dogs, so the voices of the Movement was the key and their needs was important in this Constitution compared to the Obote’s 1966 and Idi Amin’s 1971 Constitution. They we’re with this taken away and the legal framework was made to fit the NRM. As it continues!

The Chairperson of the CBR General Meeting, Dr. Joe Oloka-Onyango, observed that constitutionalism has to be a living, dynamic feature of life. He further argued that because the 1995 Constitution had launched a new phase of constitutionalism in Uganda, this CBR Workshop was about to discuss a relevant contemporary experience. In this regard, he cited the censure motion as it related to the Brigadier Jim Muhweezi case. Here Oloka-Onyango argued, that while this was a good constitutional provision, it had a fundamental weakness of over-empowering the President, who was the one responsible to ensure that the objectives of the provision were successfully realised” (Opolot & Kintu Nyago, P: 2, 1996).

The issues of the executive and the presidency were also subjected to statistical analysis. A large majority of views were in favour of all or some ministers being Members of Parliament. On the issue of whether the President should be elected, the majority preferred direct election. Those who preferred that the President be elected indirectly suggested that Parliament should conduct the election. On what should be the term of office of a President, a large majority favoured five years. As regards the maximum number of terms a President should serve, a large majority preferred two terms” (Odoki, P: 198, 2005).

The Constitutional Committee all preferred a secret ballot and elections every five years, they also was sure about 2 terms president. This would put boundaries to the rule and secure succession, also change of leaders so it could see progress and test of governance with time. Therefore, I will after this show Prof. Kanyeihamba explanation of the value of this article and provision in the Constitution, before the value of removing it from Okuku. Who both has reasonable ways of explaining it!

When the idea of term limits removal was first floated, most Ugandans thought that it was a joke in bad test. The Constituent Assembly delegates recalled that the debate about and subsequent adoption of the term limits provisions were not contentious and their acceptance as part of the permanent features of the supreme law of the country were nationally and universally accepted as absolute and binding. No one reckoned the intentions or methods that were to be employed to ridicule President Museveni’s undertaking. First, Cabinet ministers had to be coerced into supporting the amendment removing term limits. Those who refused or expressed doubt on the measure were booted out of Cabinet. Next, was to persuade Members of Parliament to fall in line. When it was realised that many of them were reluctant to do so, they were each bribed with Shs5 million, at that time a great deal of money” (Kanyeihamba, 2017).

The removal of term limits to allow for indefinite rule by the president implies a rejection of constitutionalism and democratic governance. The nature of proposed amendments relating to the presidency, parliament and the judiciary prove this point. In addition, the Amendment Bill intends to have the legislative and the judicial arms of government subordinated to the presidency. The quest for life presidency has prompted proponents of a third-term to amend the constitution through omnibus legislation combining diverse subjects that are not logically related to each other, making this unconstitutional. These manoeuvres have led various social and political forces to embark on the struggle to stem the imposition of indefinite rule by the NRM and Museveni” (Okuku, 2005).

This is all true, the quest of removing the term limits was to extend not only Museveni to a third term, but opening the gate for life presidency. This is now evident as the Magyezi bill is tabled to the Parliamentary Committee, before the secret ballot and voting over the Constitutional Amendment. That would make it official and only life presidency of Museveni, that is the goal of the Parliament for this term. Nothing else matters, only the personal wealth and lifestyle of Museveni.

The rule for life was started in 2005, it was even starting in 1980s when he fought out the rest with bullets and bush-war. It started in 1986, when he certified his role and his place. Something he don’t want to offer to someone else. That is why the Constitution he was enacting, has to be changed for the third time. So he can become life president. Stay in the State House in Entebbe for life. Because no-one else is capable in his mind. While that is wrong, because he is ignorant and power-hungry. Peace.

Reference:

Eze, Kevin – ‘Discussion Paper – THE EFFICACY OF PRESIDENTIAL TERM LIMITS’ (3-4. August 2016) link: http://minds-africa.org/Downloads/2016%202/2b.%20MINDS%202016%20Youth%20Dialogue%20Discussion%20Paper_Term%20Limits_Kevin%20Eze.pdf

Kanyeihamba, George – ‘1995 Constitution architect Justice Kanyeihamba speaks out on removing age limits’ (04.10.2017) link: http://watchdoguganda.com/1995-constitution-architect-justice-kanyeihamba-speaks-removing-age-limits/

Odoki, Benjamin – ‘The Search for a National Consensus – The Making of the 1995 Uganda Constitution’ (2005)

Okuku, Juma Anthony – ‘BEYOND ‘THIRD-TERM’ POLITICS Constitutional amendments and Museveni’s quest for life presidency in Uganda’ (May 2005) – Institute for Global Dialogue, South Africa

Opolot, Samson & Kintu Nyago, Crispin – ‘Lessons of Constitution-Making in Uganda’ – Workshop Report No.10/1996

J.F. Wapakhabulo – ‘Uganda’s Experience in Constitution Making’ (15.09.2001) link: http://www.commonlii.org/ke/other/KECKRC/2001/33.html

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