At a news conference in Parliament today, visibly angry section of NRM MPs promised to do whatever it takes to prevent any amendments to the constitution with the aim of lifting the age limit.
The ‘rebel’ MPs Muhammad Nsereko,
Barnabas Tinkasiimire, Theodore Ssekikubo and Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East) were joined by MP John Baptist Nambeshe and MP Felix Okot Ogong to address media.
MP Ssekikubo described NRM MPs’ actions as treasonable, warning of disastrous consequences should the MPs bring forth the debate on
“I don’t know whether members are aware that they are acting
treasonably. They want to use deception to hoodwink bona fide members of Parliament that amending the constitution is a national cause whereas it is not,” said Ssekikubo.
The press conference was in response to Tuesday meeting graced by up to seven members of cabinet including Defense Minister Adolf Kasaija Mwesige who came up with a resolution to have MP Raphael Magyezi present an omnibus Private Member’s Bill to amend the constitution, including removing the age limit.“Members of the NRM party were hoodwinked that they were going to
discuss something else particularly the major topic which I understand
they had communicated to people was the constitutional land
amendment,” Tinkasiimire adding his voice to the matter.
MP Nsereko challenged the group (NRM MPs who support the removal of age limit) to present the motion, assuring them that their move will be curtailed.
“We shall go to the gym, we are preparing. You will not read that
document. We shall tear it, come when you are prepared,” said MP
Nsereko, who took the opportunity to shame religious and cultural leaders for their “silence.”
“The best time for a good leader to relinquish power is when you still
have some semblance of popularity,” said MP Nambeshe, adding that “At my age, I have seen it all. Even if I remain alone, no amount of intimidation will deter me.”
MP Okot Ogong, in poetic remarks, said the NRM leaders “should know
that there are other people capable of running the country. If
President Kagame had remained here, I am sure by now you would be saying there are no leaders, but who has not seen what he has done in Rwanda? Obviously, there are many leaders.”
The matter later came up during the plenary session, chaired by deputy Speaker Oulanyah, Hon Nambooze said if it is okay for members of Parliament to start debating the constitutional amendment bill. However Oulanyah ruled, saying Parliament does not discuss issues in anticipation.