By Max Patrico Ocaido
Raphael Magyezi, the mover of the private member’s bill seeking among others to scrap presidential age limits from the constitution, wants Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to disband the parliamentary committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs citing bias.
During a press conference at parliament on Wednesday, the Igara West County MP says that some members who sit on the legal committee are biased towards his ‘Constitution Amendment Bill, 2017” and will compromise it.
“I have grievances with this committee [legal] because they have decided that Hon Kafuuzi who seconded my motion should step aside and not participate actively in this debate or even vote because they think he is biased [support age limit removal]. But I also have members who sit on this committee who have also showed side; don’t support my bill,” Magyezi said.
Mr Magyezi says that it is unfair to block a seconder of his bill to vote yet those opposed to the bill are left to participate actively.
“So, I am going to meet the NRM government Chief Whip to discuss this matter because I cannot appear before a committee which has members who are compromised,” he said.
He added, “You either allow Kafuuzi to vote or participate actively or block these members who are not in support of the bill.”
The bill among others things seeks to amend article 102(b) and article 183(2(b) to scrap off age limits for presidents and district chairperson candidates respectively.
The bill also intends to amend article 104(2)(3) and article 104(6) that talks about time for filing and determining of presidential election petitions and annulment of presidential election respectively.
Some of the MPs who sit on this committee and have been vocal against the scrapping of article 102(b) include; FDC’s Ibrahim Ssemujju (Kira Municipality), DP’s Medard Sseggona (Busiro East), and Independent MP
Mohammed Nsereko (Kampala Central).
Kalungu West MP Joseph Ssewungu, who is the Democratic Party (DP) chief whip, during an interview, said that he will not succumb to Magyezi’s interests to withdraw the MPs, some of whom are DP party members from the committee. Currently, the committee has two DP MPs; Ssegoona and Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka Municipality).
“It is unfortunate that Hon Magyezi wants us to withdraw our members from the committee to serve his interests and yet these members are lawyers. I will stop the withdraw of any member from the committee and in fact I am going to add more members to that committee. I am also a lawyer and I will add my name to that committee,”
Last week, Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa while addressing a press conference at the office of the prime minister said that she is considering adding more vocal NRM MPs to the legal committee to level grounds for the age limit debate at the committee level.
Efforts to get the Legal committee chairperson Jacob Oboth Oboth's comment on phone were futile by the time of filing this story.