Half of MPs who backed age limit Bill lose seats

Monday January 25 2021
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By Monitor Reporter

MONITOR TEAM

More than half of Members of Parliament (MPs), who voted for removal of the presidential age limit from the Constitution on December 20, 2017, will not be part of the new Parliament in May after they lost in the January 14 elections, Daily Monitor has established.

Of the 433 elected MPs that were in the House by 2017, 379 voted on the controversial motion that sought the removal of presidential age limit from the Constitution, which paved way for President Museveni, 76, to run in the January 14 elections, which he won.

The amended clause barred anyone aged above 75 or below 35 from contesting for president. It was removed following a motion for amendment tabled by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi.    
According to the Hansard of December 20, 2017, 315 MPs voted in favour of removing the age limit motion, 62 voted against it while two abstained.

In our analysis of the list of newly elected MPs in comparison to the record on the Hansard, at least 169 of MPs who voted for the removal of age limit lost the January 14 election.
Another 13, who include 10 army representatives in Parliament and three MPs for People with Disability (PWDs), had not yet been subjected to re-election by the time of filing this story.

A further analysis of the data indicates that eight of the 315 MPs who voted for age limit removal did not run for re-election. They include motion mover Magyezi who is the current minister for Local Government. Others are ministers Sam Kutesa (Foreign Affairs), Wilson Muruli Mukasa (Public Service) and Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi (State for Tourism).

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Two other MPs who voted for the age limit removal died before the election. They are Ibrahim Abiriga (Arua Municipality) and Rehema Wetongola (Kamuli Municipality). In another case, Mr Lawrence Akugizibwe of Mwenge North will have to wait a bit longer for his fate after the Electoral Commission postponed elections in his constituency following a mismatch of names of candidates on the ballot paper.

With a big number of ministers not returning to Parliament, the list accompanying this story includes MPs who lost in the September primary elections and those who failed to win the just concluded General Election.

Voted against
Kasese District Woman MP Winfred Kiiza is the only one of the 62 MPs, who voted against the removal of age limit who did not seek re-election. She was Leader of the Opposition at the time of the age limit debate and vote.  Ms Kiiza has represented Kasese for three terms.

With six MPs suspended, two in hospital after previously being beaten severely by soldiers who raided Parliament, and others opting to stay away on the day of voting on the motion, there were 30 opposition members who participated in the vote. One of them, Ms Betty Amongi (Oyam South) of Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), voted in favour of the motion in what was seen as saving her ministerial position.

Among those who voted against the motion were 29 opposition MPs, 13 independents and 20 members of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM). 

Eleven of the 29 opposition MPs also lost the January election while 15 won and another-Robinah Ssentongo (Kyotera Woman MP) - died before the poll.

Independents
Nine of the 13 Independent candidates who voted against the age limit motion lost elections whereas five of the 20 NRM members who took the same side also lost the election. In August last year, 16 of the 20 NRM dissenters were allowed to participate in the party’s primary elections after apologising to the party national chairperson, President Museveni.

However, Mr James Acidiri of Maracha East, who opted to run as an Independent, lost the election while Mr John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya), Mr Patrick Nsamba (Kassanda North) and Mr Kalwanga Lukyamuzi (Busunju), who instead swapped NRM for the new National Unity Platform (NUP), have been re-elected.

Meanwhile, Mr Stephen Mukitale (Buliisa), one of the two MPs who abstained during the vote on age limit motion has not been re-elected, while his counterpart Mr Pius Wakabi (Bugahya County) was elected for the second term unopposed.

Mr Nsamba, who recently won a second term as MP for Kassanda North, told Daily Monitor that much as he took a stand to quit NRM for NUP after voting against removal of the age limit, effective representation is key.

Much as he was rewarded with a Cabinet position for tabling the controversial age limit Bill, Mr Magyezi surprised the country when he announced he would not seek re-election in Igara West.

On why he didn’t stand again, the minister: “My people still needed me. They requested me to come back. But it’s always good to give chance to others. There is no doubt I will come back. I need to concentrate on personal things..”

Compiled by Misairi Thembo Kahungu, Patience Ahimbisibwe & 
Damalie Mukhaye

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