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Age Limit: MPs, Ministers Clash at Kabale Ordination Ceremony

An ordination ceremony for two priests and two deacons in Kabale Diocese on Saturday turned political when ministers and Members of Parliament exchanged words over presidential age limit and proposals to amend land laws.
Some of the legislators who attended the function.

Audio 10

An ordination ceremony for two priests and two deacons in Kabale Diocese on Saturday turned political when ministers and Members of Parliament exchanged words over presidential age limit and proposals to amend land laws.

 

The ceremony took place at Kakore Parish and was presided over by Bishop Calist Rubaramira of Kabale Diocese. Deacons John Fisher Byomuhangi and Jeremiah Tumwijukye were ordained priests while Augustine Munyandutse and Benjamin Tukamushaba became deacons. Father Byomuhangi was posted to serve in Nyarushanje Parish while Father Tumwijukye will serve in Christ the King Parish.

 

Bishop Rubaramira asked the new priests to live by example to the people they lead. Rubaramira also challenged the priests to intensify the crusade against corruption and immorality among the Christians.

 

Drama however unfolded when legislators who had attended the function started exchanging words over the proposals to amend article 26 of the constitution to allow government take over private land for development projects. Also up for discussion was Article 102(b) of the constitution that puts a ceiling on the age of a sitting president at 75 years.

 

Government early this month tabled the Constitution Amendment Bill 2017 with the main aim of amending Article 26 of the constitution. There has also been a debate about reports that members of the ruling NRM party were pushing to have Article 102 repealed to allow President Yoweri Museveni stand again in 2021.

 

It all started when the Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba vowed to fight the said proposals. Niwagaba also asked locals to join him and reject the amendments.

 

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Niwagaba was backed by the Lwemiyaga Member of Parliament Theodore Ssekikubo who also accused all those supporting the proposals of denying other potential Ugandans a chance to lead Uganda.

 

Ssekikubo also said that once Article 26 is amended, Ugandans could lose their land to a few greedy individuals who are hiding in Government.

 

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In a response, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, the State Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development attacked MPs Niwagaba and Ssekikubo accusing them of diverting Ugandans on proposed amendments.

 

Baryomunsi, who is also the Kinkiizi East MP, says that the amendment of Article 26 should not incite panic among Ugandans since it is aimed at making sure that government projects run smoothly.

 

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Article 26 of the Constitution provides for the right of persons to own property and how it can be acquired by government. The proposed amendment gives government powers for compulsory acquisition of land if the owner rejects the valuation.

 

Speaking as the guest of honor, David Bahati the State Minister for Planning said that though some legislators like Niwagaba and Ssekikubo are against the constitutional amendments, they will not succeed because many Ugandans still need President Museveni to rule.

 

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Under the current provision in Article 102, President Museveni would not be eligible to contest for the seat in 2021, as he would be 77 years.