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Q&A | Museveni should use remaining four years to facilitate transition – Prof. Apolo Nsibambi

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Posted October 23, 2017 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Age Limit Debate ~ 1,519 views

     

By Charles Bichachi — You were part of the CA delegates as a nominator. It was perhaps the most transparent Constitution-making process we have had. In light of the current attempts to change a very critical part of the Constitution, that was based on the preamble that looked at our history, what do you make of what is happening?

People are divided of course. Some argue that we should have the age limit, others don’t. I personally think we should have the age limit. It is very difficult to serve as the president of the country. After some time, one should retire. So that is the position of those who believe in age limit.

On the contrary, those who are arguing for the change say that the clause is discriminatory. When you were putting it in the Constitution at that time, did that occur to you that the age could be a discriminatory factor? 
In what sense is it discriminatory?

They say the age limit discriminates people who are older than 75 years and the lower cap of 35 also discriminates against the youth and that makes it unconstitutional
It is not unconstitutional in the sense that after one has attained a certain age, one cannot carry that heavy burden.

The President was interviewed in the past saying that at 75, one’s strength has reduced and their concentration has reduced, and perhaps, nobody should be president at that time. Now he is saying perhaps that needs to be referred to doctors. Obviously, it looks like his position has changed. Are you surprised? 
Well, that is his new proposal, and he is entitled to it.

When terms limits were removed from the Constitution in 2005, you were in Parliament at that time and supported. Do you still think it was a good decision made at that time?
I think at that time it was okay, but now I think it is unnecessary.

With hindsight, you think the term limits should never have been removed from the Constitution?
That’s correct.

Did you envisage at that point that we would reach a scenario where we will have again to be looking at another clause on the presidency, to remove it?
No.

You saw what happened in Parliament and the country; many people seemed to be very agitated. What do you think is driving this push in light of all this opposition?
Well, I think they are being pushed by certain individuals. Yes. They are being encouraged by some individuals.

Do you think Mr Museveni wants to continue being President?
I think so.

Why?
Because he has been a very capable President, he has done a wonderful job and people are wishing him to continue with that good job.

And it’s essentially not him, but what people want?
Both. Because he has done a wonderful job and the problem is that he has not made arrangements for a successor. I think that is his great weakness. Not to make arrangements for a successor, and therefore, there is a vacuum, and during this vacuum, many people think that he should be the one to continue. That is really the problem.

He has had 31 years, how many more years would you think President Museveni would need to arrange a transition from himself?
I think he needs five years to arrange for a transition.

So, do you believe then that age limit should be removed to give him more time?
No. Age limit should not be removed.

So you think within the remaining part of President Museveni’s term he should be able to put in place a transition?
Yes.

If the age limit is removed, what do you think is likely to happen in the country? The last opportunity to have a smooth transfer of power, some say, will perhaps have been lost
This country has faced many challenges and that is one of the challenges which can be overcome.

How should it be overcome?
By listening to people carefully and by taking the most durable position.

Assuming by a stroke, by one act of God, the country has to find another leader to replace President Museveni. Who do you think it would be?
Who would take over power? I really don’t know. Perhaps yourself. I really don’t know, and that has been the problem, namely; the President has not prepared a successor and there is a vacuum at the moment. There is no person we think should take over. Probably the Vice President might take over. The problem of age might be in his way, but he is a very capable person.

A lot of people have opinions that President Museveni’s fear is not really because he is fearful of life after retirement, but of perhaps being followed one way or the other. Is that a well-founded fear?
It might be one of them because normally when people retire, someone will want to settle old scores, so arrangements could be made to ensure that when presidents retire, they live a peaceful life like the one of Kenya.

Besigye has talked very brazenly about this regime. Do you think we fear that perhaps in time when the Opposition takes over, the security will not be assured? 
I don’t think that is to be assured. Because the Opposition is very erratic, is led by a person who is extremely erratic.

Source — Daily Monitor.


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

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