Age limit: changing constitution inevitable - Otafiire

The minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Maj. Gen Kahinda Otafiire has said changes in the Constitution including lifting of the age limits are inevitable.

Otafiire was responding to Bishop Robert Muhiirwa's comments on the amendment of the Constitution to remove the presidential age limits.

Bishop Muhiirwa used his sermon in a mass for Catholics from Mbarara Archdiocese on their annual pilgrimage to the Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo on Sunday to remind leaders about the oath they take while holding the bible.

"The word of God must not be played with. 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," he said.

Minister Otafiire (R) arrives for a meeting with NRM leaders 

However while meeting National Resistance Movement (NRM) leaders from Fort Portal municipality and Kabarole district on Monday in Fort Portal town, Otafiire said that although he respects Muhiirwa's opinion on the age limit, amendments and changes in society are inevitable.

According to Otafiire, Jesus left only one church under St. Peter but now there are many churches with different religious leaders implying that the constitution of the church was changed which led to the emergence of different religions and bishops.

He added that since there is change in religion, the same should apply in politics.
"Jesus left only one church under St Peter but there are four bishops in Kabarole. If they had not changed the constitution of the church, how would the different denominations have arisen…So like there’s time for change in religion there is also time for second thoughts in politics", Otafiire said.
Muhiirwa and Reuben Kisembo, the Bishop Ruwenzori Diocese have been consistent so far on their stance against removing the age limits. They have spoken at different functions and written letters urging President Yoweri Museveni to retire and allow another leader to take over.
Otafiire also criticised some NRM members of parliament who are against the amendment of the constitution. He said that as party members, they are supposed to support and respect decisions taken by the party's organs.
After speaking to the leaders, Otafiire then ordered journalists out of the hall, saying that the leaders were going to discuss internal matters of the party. He also ordered his army escorts to ensure the journalists were not in the vicinity of the venue.
Margaret Muhanga, the member of parliament for Burahya county and a supporter of removal of the age limit, said that some NRM members of parliament and members of the opposition are wasting time opposing the proposed amendment of the constitution.
Displaying a list of names, Muhanga claimed that 330 NRM MPs and all the 10 Uganda People's Defence Forces-UPDF representatives are in favour of amending the constitution.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd