KAMPALA, Uganda. The demand for amending of article 102 (b) popularly known as the ‘Age Limit’ is taking a new twist, the Investigator can reveal. The latest move is from the ruling party NRM workers League Executive Committee who have demanded that the workers’ MPs immediately table the discussion on the floor of Parliament though MPs have been restricted from holding debates about the same.
During an impromptu meeting held at the Labor College of East Africa in Namuwongo on Saturday, the NRM Workers league representative from across the country put the workers’ MPs on tension demanding that their concerns as workers regarding the amendment of Article 102 be addressed.
“Workers are concerned about the ambiguity surrounding discussions on the constitutional amendments… i.e. Art. 102 (b) yet amendment is provided for within the constitution. We direct workers’ MPs to start the process of amending Article 102 of the constitution because it already conflicts with other provisions of the same constitution,” said Hassan Lwabayi Mudiba who signed the petition.
The workers league executive also warned that if the Electoral Commission doesn’t comply within one week from now, they shall not hesitate to take appropriate action to “protect our interests.” Sports State Minister, and chairperson of the Workers MP Charles Bakabulindi said, as representatives of the workers, they will do as demanded. “They (workers league) are our bosses. We shall take their demand to the floor of Parliament as as requested. Ours is to take their message,” he said.
Arinaitwe Kajara, a workers’ MP who organized the meeting said a law was passed to have local council workers’ councilors elected but Electoral commission was delaying to hold the elections.” EC says that when the law was passed, the budget for LC 1 elections had already been passed. But these explanations are not clear,” said Kajara.
Commenting on the demand to have the debate on Article 102, Kajara said that workers have a right to express their views. “As their representatives in the August House, we are mandated to have their issues addressed as per their demands,” he said.
To send a rather serious warning to the legislators, the Chairman General of the National Organization of Trade Unions, (NOTU) Usher Wilson Owere made it clear that as NOTU, the biggest workers’ body in the country, they are behind the scrapping of age limit for the president. “We have heard peoples’ cries, and as NOTU, we are in full support of their views.”
Commenting on the issue of elections, Owere said, “I am directing you as our MPs to ensure that elections are held. And the issue of age limit should be looked into as well. Why should the age limit be restricted for presidents and not elsewhere? Let the age limit be open so that all ages can compete, regardless of their age,” he roared.
He assured the legislators that the concerns of the workers were a serious issue. “This is a serious matter and for us we don’t play around. This meeting has been long overdue. We don’t care what happens as long as our workers lead a good life.”
The petition being handed over to the workers MPs at the Labor College of East Africa in Namuwongo