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Why NRM Supports age Limit Removal

By Ofwono Opondo

Nov, 02, 17
The Ugandan opposition, well-knowing its limitations has been peddling the view that the constitution should cut across political party ’partisan’ lines hoping to hoodwink the majority NRM members to agree with this skewed narrative of a hapless group. And by ‘partisan’ they imply, when greatly influenced by NRM. For starters, NRM is a broad national political organisation with liberation and transformative ideology. Therefore, as the current dominant force, proven by visible achievement, and regular democratic electoral strength, its views must be heavily reflected not only in the national constitution, but other laws and policy directions. We therefore, oppose and reject the narrative that defines NRM as either having corrupt, inferior or illegitimate interests in Uganda’s current or future events.
Last week the Central Executive Committee (CEC) and National Executive Council (NEC) of the NRM met and unanimously agreed to support the constitutional amendment Bill currently before parliament. This should end any doubts as to the official NRM position, and district meetings are to be convened to engage the public, and also dismantle opposition scare games.
However, this doesn’t mean that all NRM members, are fully on board, and therefore, the proponents should explain the rationale of these amendments, build convergence and consensus to ensure success. NRM believes in a broad democratic framework that offers everyone opportunity to leadership, and therefore these limitations must be removed.
NRM has a vision and mission which shouldn’t be constrained especially when universal adult suffrage elections is available to effectively determine the peoples’ preference. President Yoweri Museveni has served well, and we should create opportunity for his continued availability beyond 2021 should the situation demand so.
Museveni remains credible as a force of national and regional stability, steady progress and continuity to ensure that the achievements registered are further consolidated beyond reversal on account of change of leadership or our policy priorities. Those opposed, should instead focus their energies in mobilizing voters to reject President Museveni or any other older person when presented as candidates at the next elections. Indeed they could even impeach him before his current term ends because the constitution provides for it.  
Raphael Magyezi’s proposals are also good because they aim to correct some of the contradictions on electoral matters as identified by the Supreme Court in its ruling last year, which must be handled by April 2018 and hence why they cannot wait for the Constitutional Review Commission process. NRM MPs, and indeed members who constitute the overwhelming majority must remain vigilant against all the filibuster tactics the opposition intend to employ in and outside parliament to thwart or derail these amendments.
Some of these tactics include use of physical force, intimidation, political harassment, blackmail, false allegations on use of money. It is evident that these are already being played out in parliament, its committee, or some constituencies of MPs seen as vulnerable. There is also an orchestrated negative propaganda where the where the media mostly and deliberately focuses on hostile reception to some MPs. To withstand this avalanche from the few rogue MPs and their supporters, NRM MPs must remain focused, coordinated, disciplined and steady-fast because all signs show opposition disintegrating and running desperate. The structures of violence they had constructed across the country including against the police, are crumbling.
As President Museveni once said, only a stupid dog barks at an elephant because it doesn’t know that it can’t scare away the elephant from going about its business. The rowdy behaviour against Magnesia and Minister Kahinda Otafiire when they appeared before the committee early this week is part of the opposition stratagem. Instead of subjecting Magyezi to a cagey defence, and hopefully prove how  frivolous his proposals are, Semujju Nganda and company, chose hooliganism because they are coming to the rope’s end.
Political mischief, as exhibited by the opposition, does not extinguish a thriving democracy as ours, but becomes dangerous when a pattern of shameless lies and aggressive contempt for established rules, pluralism, and tolerance for rival ideas are permitted. Tension has been brewing between the NRM politics which respects those constitutional norms, and opposition cult of personal ego, which is now confronting each other in full combat. If the Besigyeists triumph, it will be catastrophic for our nascent democracy. Tiny as they are, the opposition is trying its best to use every institution available as weapons to brandish ideological fervor and hate through arrogance and raw muscle power which they falsely call a peoples’ revolution.
The NRM MPs who sit there peacefully without throwing tantrums are not that docile as Semujju and ilk might believe. Rather, their silence help expose the insidious nature of opposition elements. NRM is capable of being disruptive, and nuisance if it chooses to, however, our tested and preferred method even under difficult circumstances is building consensus and winning over those with whom we disagree. Nobody has the monopoly to insult or mete out violence in this country, and the Sumujjus surely know this, but, indeed like the a’kabwa kasiiru, they continue backing at the elephant!