Thursday January 9 2014

Restore term limits before the general elections

By JM Kavuma-Kaggwa

The caucus of the ruling party will have their first 2014 retreat at Kyankwanzi in February. I heard this announcement by Mr Muwanga Lutaaya, the NRM spokesman in Wakiso District, during a radio talk show.

This kind of retreat is very important for all political parties in a multi-party system because it enables leaders and members of parties to carry out review. We have only two years left to the next general elections in 2016. This is definitely going to be a very critical time because the 2016 elections will be tough.

The NRM Caucus generally meets to review what is happening in the country and make recommendations. The caucus should, therefore, seriously review the presidential term limits, which were abolished in 2005 and recommend that Parliament must reinstate term limits before the 2016 general elections.

The NRM Caucus should also recommend the appointment of a committee of constitutional lawyers to review the Constitution in 2015 before the general elections. The people should be allowed to give their views to this committee.

The new Constitution should have a clause allowing all political parties to be represented on the Uganda Electoral Commission. It should also have a clause stipulating that a citizen of Uganda must be a Member of Parliament for a maximum period of 10 years only.

The Constitution should also have a clause stipulating that a citizen of Uganda must win membership of the national Parliament (in a constituency of his own choice), in addition to contesting the presidency of the country. This is an extremely good system because it allows that person, as leader of his party, to speak and advocate the policies of his party in Parliament.

If we had this policy in our country, all the seven candidates who contested in 2011 would now be Members of Parliament, speaking and representing their parties.

Finally, the NRM Caucus should know that the restoration of the presidential term limits will instill confidence in Ugandans that in future, one of their sons/daughters will be President of this country. Such a move will make the NRM more popular and be able to survive after President Museveni.