By Steven Ainganiza
The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire has hit back at the Fort Portal Diocese Bishop Dr. Robert Muhiirwa over his comments on the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2017.
While leading a mass for Catholics from Mbarara Archdiocese, at the Uganda Martyrs Shrine, Namugongo on Sunday, Bishop Muhiirwa said, “The word of God must not be played with and the leaders of this country must not joke with the Bible. They held a bible in their right hand and swore to defend the Constitution. I remind you the clergy to remain firm and not support the amendment of article 102(b).”
The bishop’s statement has however angered Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire and other NRM cadres.
While meeting National Resistance Movement-NRM party leaders of Fort Portal Municipality and Kabarole district on Monday in Fort Portal town, Minister Otafiire said, “Although I respect Muhiirwa's opinion on the age limit, amendments and changes in society are inevitable. We have to amend this article.”
Otafiire added, “Jesus left only one Church under St. Peter but now there are several churches with different religious leaders. If the Constitution of the church had not been changed to cater for different religions, Dr.Robert Muhiirwa would not have been Bishop.”
Bishop Muhiirwa and Reuben Kisembo, the Bishop Rwenzori Diocese (Anglican) have been consistent in their anti-age limit removal messages in their various sermons this year. Otafiire also criticized some NRM Members of Parliament who are against amendment of the Constitution, saying as party members, they are supposed to support and respect decisions taken by the party's organs.
The minister was speaking in reference to Fort Portal Municipality Member of Parliament Alex Ruhunda and Kabarole district Woman Legislator Sylvia Rwabwogo who have opposed the Constitutional amendment bill, which seeks to lift the presidential age limits of 35years(lower) and 75years (Upper).