Ten National Resistance Movement (NRM) party legislators have written to President Yoweri Museveni demanding that he distances himself from the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill that seeks to lift the presidential age limit.
The bill if passed by parliament would pave way for the amendment of article 102(b) of the constitution, which caps the presidential age at 75.
If amended, the move would eliminate the last hurdle for President Museveni to seek reelection when his term of office ends in 2021. He is now aged 73, and would not be eligible for another term of office.
The MPs, who are all opposed to the amendment currently before parliament, describe the bill fronted by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi as divisive, opportunistic and isolationist, adding that it has alienated the majority of ruling NRM members and Ugandans.
The letter is signed by MPs; Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), Monicah Amoding (Kumi), Barnabas Tinkasimire (Buyaga West), Patrick Nsamba Oshabe (Kasanda North), Sam Lyomoki (Workers), Gaffa Mbwatekamwa (Kasambya), John Baptist Nambesha (Manjiya), Alex Ruhunda (FortPortal), Sylvia Rwabwogo (Kabarole) and Felix Okot Ogong (Dokolo South).
They are collectively demanding that Museveni who also doubles as the NRM party chairman urgently convenes a meeting of the Central Executive Committee (CEC), the National Executive Council (NEC), and National Conference to consider and adopt a common position on the proposed amendment.
The MPs also asked Museveni to consider setting in motion, a planned democratic and transparent transition and succession process within the NRM party and national presidency.
"Having risen to the deserved status of 'Father of the Nation'; you owe it to the current and future generation to hand over a stable and vibrant democracy. The gift you bestow to Ugandans is a smooth transition of power." reads the letter.
Addressing journalists at parliament, Tinkasimire said it was appalling that government has abdicated its cardinal mandate and responsibility for the constitutional process by abandoning such an important process to a private member.
"This is not only horrendous but unacceptable. Even if a constitutional amendment was relevant, the mischief of such should be owned and backed by all NRM organs and administrative committees, not individuals," said Tinkasimire.
He described the action by the government as a vote of no confidence in the president and cabinet.
"We are tired of a man who says this and turns against his word. He's our national chairperson. He was interviewed by an NTV journalist and he said; 'not me...not me...certainly not. If you want a president who has vigour, I think it is good not to consider a person who is not above 75 years'. He thinks I was not listening, he thinks Ugandans were not listening", added Tinkasimire.
Sylvia Rwabwogo, the Kabarole Woman MP said advocates of the amendments are misleading the president.
"...This is where it hurts most, for the NRM and for the president. The people who are advising him are taking him to the wrong direction and that is not the direction that the president that I know, wanted to achieve in the beginning. We really owe it to the president and to the party, NRM to realise the lasting fruits and the lasting impact and the labour and the sacrifice of those who went to the bush so that at a future time we realise a peaceful change of government. We can't continue to commit to the mistakes of individuals. If it was coming from the government, it would be a different story. But now this bill is coming from an individual and I think he's being guided by selfish interests.", said Rwabwogo.