KAMPALA- Youth groups belonging to various political parties have joined a campaign against the looming lifting of age limit for presidential candidates from the Constitution of Uganda.
In Kampala City, three members of the National Resistance Movement Youth League, who had assembled for a press conference at Makerere University to rally against the amendment of Article 102 (b) to scrap the current 75 years ceiling for presidential candidates, were arrested by police before they could address journalists.
Mr Robert Rutaro, the head of the NRM Youth Desk and former Makerere University guild president, and two of his colleagues were detained at Wandegeya Police Station for holding an unlawful assembly.
The Officer-in-Charge of Makerere University Police post, Mr Denis Kasibante, said the trio will be charged with holding an unlawful assembly.
“They didn’t notify the police about their meeting as the law on public order management stipulates,” Mr Kasibante said.
Protests against the lifting oof the age limit started after government published proposals for Constitution amendments in the Uganda Gazette recently.
While in Parliament on Tuesday, the Deputy Attorney General, Mr Mwesigwa Rukutana denied the plot to scrap age limit for presidential candidates from the Constitution
As the police arrested the youth at Makerere University, another group of youth from the Conservative Party, Democratic Party and the Forum for Democratic Change appointed Ms Anna Adeke, the national Female Youth MP, to head a youth campaign against the lifting of the age limit.
The campaign has been dubbed Inchi Yetu (Our Country).
Ms Adeke said they [youth] have agreed to protect the presidential age limit in the Constitution.
“The Constitution must be a durable document whose provisions can stand the test of time and should only be amended in pursuit of a better constitutional order,” Ms Adeke said. “In the case of Uganda, the presidential terms limits, which barred a person from serving as president for longer than two consecutive terms, was removed before it could be tested.”
In Arua Municipality, a group of youth from different political parties refuted claims made by their legislator, Mr Ibrahim Abiriga that his constituents want the presidential age limit to be lifted.
Mr Abiriga is one of the MPs fronting the scheme.
One of the group leaders Mr Fadhil Lemeriga, the chairman of Democratic Party in Arua Municipality, said Mr Abiriga’s views do reflect those of his constituents.
“Ugandans must know that tempering with the Constitution can lead to anything. It can still lead us to 1966 crisis which led to coups and wars,” Mr Lemeriga said.
The plot to lift the age limit for presidential candidates is seen as a ploy to allow President Yoweri Museveni, who is about to clock 73 years, to contest in 2021 at the age of 76.