The Uganda Medical Association (UMA), an umbrella body for registered medical practitioners plans to set up a team of personnel to conduct research on whether a person who is 75 years and above has the physical and mental abilities to be president.
The association’s president, Dr Anthony Ekwaro Obuku told the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee today, Wednesday afternoon that the panel of seasoned experts will beef up its research in ascertaining the competences of a 75-year-old, in the wake of strong debate on the unpopular age limit bill.
The Constitution (Amendment) (No 2) bill 2017 is currently being scrutinised by the committee, with the proposal to amend article 102 (b) to remove the presidential age limits of between 35 and 75 years.
Dr Obuku revealed to the legislators that those lined up on the panel include a physiologist to look at the body functions of a 75-year old; a psychiatrist to look at the behavioral and cognition functions; a pychologist; a pathologist; a neurologist to look at the physical state of nerves and the brain; as well as a geriatrician, a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and disability in older adults.
“Due to the importance of this subject to the future of the country, we take cognisance of the robust due process required to come up with concrete findings that will better inform Parliament’s decision,” Dr Obuku explained.
He added that the association has contacted international agencies which conduct systematic reviews to support the initiative.
“This job needs to be thoroughly done. It is a job that has huge implications on the country. We are gong through a thorough process looking at research from all over the world,” he said.
The association requested for between two and four weeks to carry out what they termed as a high profile research and present the findings thereafter before the committee.
Committee chairperson, Jacob Oboth-Oboth (West Budama South) granted them two weeks to return with their findings. Earlier, the committee met officials from the Uganda Law Reform Commission (ULRC) and Electoral Commission.