Grenade Attacks on Opposition Accompanies Museveni's Life-Presidency Bill

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Dictator Museveni, who has ruled for 31 years now, wants to be life-President


Grenade Attacks on Opposition Accompanies Museveni's Life-Presidency Bill

GULU, Uganda--The widely detested Constitutional Amendment Bill which will allow Uganda’s dictator Yoweri Museveni to rule for life, and which brought fracas in parliament on Wednesday, September 27, has officially been tabled before a one-sided legislature. Meanwhile there have been grenade attacks against the homes of lawmakers who oppose the bill.

A Member of Parliament, Raphael Magyezi, who belongs to the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, tabled the bill that seeks to amend Article 102 (b) of the 1995 Constitution to scrap the age-75 limit for presidential candidates from the constitution. Ugandans fear Museveni will become like some African rulers who were life-presidents even when they had become senile like Malawi's late Kamuzu Banda. or like Haiti's Papa Doc Duvalier and his brutal Tontons Macoute (Museveni has "crime preventers").

Article 102 (b) states that “A person is not qualified for election as President unless that person is not less than thirty-five years and not more than seventy-five years of age”. Museveni, whose official record show that he was born on September 13, 1944, would not be legible to stand again in 2021 as he would be above 75 years old.

Opposition legislators boycotted parliament after 25 opposition members of Parliament were suspended by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on September 27 for trying to delay the start of debate for the bill that would allow Museveni life-presidency. The members of Parliament were then attacked by security agents dressed in business suits, who had infiltrated Parliament. This led to a fist-fight among the legislators that has now gone viral.

Legislators who belong to the opposition were not in the House on October 3 when the Bill was tabled before parliament which kick started the process of removing Museveni’s last obstacle to his life presidency scheme from the constitution. The Speaker, Kadaga, while referring the Bill to the House Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for scrutiny, insists that the people, who are the voters, must first be consulted for the Bill to be passed into law.

In 2005, Museveni engineered a similar move and removed the two-term limits provision from the 1995 constitution using his parliamentary majority; which allowed him to stand for the third elective position in 2006.

There have been three grenade attacks on the residences of three legislators belonging to the opposition parties on Thursday last week after the fracas in parliament; and on Tuesday when the controversial Bill was tabled before Parliament.

Last Thursday the home of Mr. Moses Kasibante, the MP for Rubaga North in the outskirts of Kampala Capital City, was attacked by unknown gunmen, using what police sources say were stun grenades. This happened a day after the fracas in parliament.

Earlier on Tuesday, when the bill was due to be tabled in the afternoon, residences of two other opposition legislators were attacks in a similar manner using the same kind of grenades in the cover of darkness.

The two legislators are Mr. Allan Ssewanyana, the MP of Makindye West and Mr. Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, the MP of Kyadondo East, all located on the outskirts of the City.

In Uganda, it is only the police who imports stun grenades to control riots. Stun grenades make striking flash and a loud bang upon explosion but is considered non-lethal but can inflict damage on properties and severe injuries on human beings upon impact.

While government spokesman Mr. Ofono-Opondo says the grenades attacks are the works of the opposition for political capital and to attract attention and sympathy, the opposition says they are State engineered to silence the opposition on the Bill before parliament.

Speaker Kadaga, Ugandans react to fracas

Ms. Kadaga has had a relatively good working relationship with the Opposition lawmakers, but following Wednesday’s ugly scene, the honeymoon between them might be over.

“Our rules state that once ordered to exit the chambers, you exit and if you refuse, you get evicted”, one of the national papers quotes speaker Kadaga who was defending her record.

“Even if Kadaga was under pressure from somewhere, what we went through should not have happened under her watch. She should have exercised her powers and protected us” says Agago woman PM, Ms. Judith Franca Akello from her hospital bed after being admitted following the fracas.

“I am and have been, for many years, a great admirer of our leader, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, but how can one individual be the only one able to run a nation of nearly 40 million souls? Permanency is all very well, and has in many ways served us well, but it speaks very ill of Ugandans that we have been totally incapable of fielding any other candidate”, writes John Nagenda, in his Saturday Column the state owned New Vision newspaper.


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