Faced with a rival in Busoga Kingdom princes Persis Namuganza and others, Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga yesterday fronted her role in pushing through the unpopular age limit law as she defended her candidature before NRM party Central Executive Committee (CEC).
Ms Kadaga, who is the current 2nd national vice chairperson (Female), told CEC that she defended the ideology of the party to steer the House during consideration of the controversial Constitutional [Amendment] Bill of 2017 that lifted the age limit cap and paved way for Mr Museveni to run for presidency as many times as he wishes.
The Speaker and other top party candidates were campaigning during CEC meeting at State House Entebbe after CEC vetted and endorsed President Museveni as the ruling party chairperson and flag bearer in the 2021 polls.
In her presentation before the vetting process, Ms Kadaga said for her love of the NRM party and continuity of President Museveni’s leadership, she had to ensure Parliament amended Article 102(b) of the 1995 Constitution.
“I have also in hard circumstances facilitated the amendment of the Constitution and Article 102 to enable opportunity of the NRM ideology, the party but most importantly our national chairperson [Mr Museveni] to continue leading the country after the end of the current term,” Ms Kadaga said.
President Museveni signed the controversial Bill into law in January 2018. The signing of the Bill came amid calls from Opposition and religious leaders to return the Bill to Parliament. On December 20, 2017, Parliament chaired by Kadaga passed the Bill [with 317 MPs voting in favour and 97 against]. The House also extended the MPs term from five to seven years.
But the Constitutional Court, sitting in Mbale, would later quash the MPs seven-year-term and uphold the age limit removal.
Unlike 2015 when she sailed through unopposed during the delegates conference at Namboole Stadium, Ms Kadaga is being challenged. The Speaker faces competition from Ms Namuganza, the State Minister for Lands, who markets herself as the voice of the “young blood”- the group Museveni often calls Bazzukulu (the grandchildren) of his bush war struggle. But it is not clear whether Mr Museveni will intervene and shield Ms Kadaga and other senior CEC members from competition as he did for some leaders during the party delegates conference at Namboole stadium in the run up to the 2016 General Election.