Commentary & Letters

Opinion on the Constitutional (Amendment No.2 2017) by – AMANYA MUSHEGA

When I was coming here, right from the front, to rear entrance I went through so many security gadgets that were not there before. This is a sign that Parliament and with its Hon. Members are very important people, who should reflect high values, value the nation and its people to come first before our personal and partisan concerns and interests. I am sure Hon. Members you are equal to the task and that I will learn a lot from you.

This Constitution was made

1. After long consultations by the Constitution Commission that went around the country consultation the citizens, consulted people abroad and other experts and constitutions.

2. Was made by a special body (Constituency Assembly) which was universally elected to do only one specific thing to review the report, to consult and promulgate a national constitution.

3. It was made while taking into account the history of Uganda what it had gone through and to address the issues specific to Uganda.

4. Comparisons with other constitutions in the regions and the world were made

5. It was to prevent repetition of the past from reoccurring and immunize leaders from being infected by the State House virus that affects the occupants with apatite for power and over stay. So what is the agency for this Amendment, is it the most serious and urgent matter affecting the country today.

Let me point out that Uganda’s problems in the past and present have never come from the population, the Opposition or lack of ideology. It has always come from leaders who come to power appearing with good intentions but later on because of the State House virus and trapping of power start thinking of themselves as indispensable and a sense of entitlement to stay in power. This can be made worse by political crippers and cheer leaders.

Constitutions and other laws are made to govern society and control the greed of men for power and resources. Constitutions are made to stand the test of time and challenges and not be changed casually and worse still to suit the interest of one person or a group. If I may ask again what is the hurry or rash to specifically amend the Age Limit provision although it’s accompanied by Emperekezia amendment.

What mischief has occurred? Who has complained that the provision as it is has prevented them from standing. Where did the Hon. Magyezi Rapheal the mover who had earlier demonstrated against leaders who wants to over stay pick this noble idea from.

We should never make a law or amend it to suit an individual however disguised or cleverly is done.

The question am posing “WHO ARE WE FOOLING?”

We have hard many arguments in favour of this move, but let me highlight a few;

(a) That USA had no term limits until recently

(b) That this law is not just for the benefit for Mr. Museveni .

(c) That many other countries have no term limits

(d) That why remove a good captain/striker

Let me make a few observations

1. A good law is the one that affects all equally including or specially those who made it.

2. Patriotism is not just love for your leader but its love for your country including the duty to defend your country against its government or leader.

3. The first major defilement (amendment) of this constitution in its infancy was the removal of term limits which was specifically to benefit an individual.

4. The current attempt to change or this time rape the very constitution, inspite of all the spurious arguments, is again to benefit one individual

When a leader becomes above the law and whenever the fundamental law of the land affects him, it must be changed at all costs and hastily, you are headed for disaster. It becomes a question of just not when but also how.

When all is done just to keep one individual or group in un checked power, you are sowing seeds of disaster for the future generation. Africa is replete with such “strong men “eventually leave power even where the leader has passed on and is accorded a State funeral like in the case of the Ivory Coast problems have occurred. The young men and women who lived in misery or pay with their blood to change the situation were not even born when these indispensible strong men were in charge. Hon. Members think about the country and the children of tomorrow.

Let me draw to the attention of this committee;

The office of the President in the case of Uganda is the most feted, facilitated, and protected. There’s a question I would like to put across this committee which has been in my minds for many years. Is Mr. Museveni (for whom you intend to amend the Age Limit provision), a leader to prosperity and progress or a leader to eventual disaster?

Do leaders who want to overstay in power even against the original principled positions, do so because of their love for their countries and people or is it for other reasons.

It’s all powerful however much the occupant tries he gets over worked, and insulated from reality. Power intoxicates far more than alcohol. In the case of alcohol, when the individual wakes up his shaken by the hang over and other effects and has a chance to reflect and rethink. For power however it’s a permanent presence every where the occupant is or needs its ever present. It can easily lead to the HUBRIS SYNDOME.

The provisions on term, and age limits were to prevent this or de intoxicate. Alas if this mile stones removed the guess or the future of this country and future generation, your guess is as good as mine.

I have had the privilege to meet some presidents while in power and those who had relinquished to power. The difference in expression demeanor and lessons they give are amazing. Even those we have watched in neighbouring Kenya, Tanzania or far off USA and UK make you feel envious wishing the same could happen to us. The current generation owes this country the obligation to have a peaceful transfer of power from one president to another. It has happened at the level of Vice presidents, Prime Ministers, Ministers, Members of Parliament and Local leaders. Why not at the presidency. Is it occupied by people from outer space? It is important to save the country and individual by leaving this protective provision intact. Duty has beckoned you; it’s up to you to fulfill it. It’s very important to remove the state of fear and uncertainty from many leaders including leaders temporal and spiritual and investors and especially local ones.

Trouble has always come from leaders. History like time never repeats itself. It is only those who think they are too clever who repeat the same things that resulted into trouble in the past and when the same results occur they are again too clever or conceited to accept the consequences of their action and instead of accepting the blame they take cover in the false adage that history has indeed repeated itself.

One time I was having a conversation with the late Zirikusoka. He said to me “You are not successful until you have a successful successor”

Its high time you created room for many successors to emerge so that the best of them are chosen.

We may be enjoying peace but we need stability.

Let me end with the story, I was told by a leader in Tanzania. When Mwalimu Nyerere declared his intentions to retire the entire Central Executive Committee of CCM insisted that he was the only one that could guarantee stability in Tanzania. But when he stuck to his guns and declared his retirement more than 15 members of those in the same committee picked their forms to replace him. Of course each declaring that he was the most suited to replace him and continue the stability. Tanzania has since had four Presidents and is stable. Compare with Field Martial Mobutu who declared that after him there will be a flood.

I wish and hope that some of you will be among those that will pick nomination forms especially from the ruling party when this vital provision is retained. If only you can have the courage to overcome the fear of this highly disguised private members bill. One wise Jurist long ago said “circumstantial evidence is capable of proving a point with accuracy of mathematics”. Don’t fear Ugandans today are much more bold, less fearful compared to the situation in 2005.

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