Following three days of discussion in Parliament, article 102(b) of the Constitution was changed to eliminate both the lower and higher age restrictions on December 20, 2017.
The lowest and higher age limits for candidates for the position of President were set by the 1995 Constitution’s drafters at 35 and 75, respectively.
If the article had not been taken down, Mr. Museveni would not have run in the election held last year; Uganda would have experienced its first peaceful transfer of power in more than 50 years; and Mr. Museveni would be beginning his second year of retirement.
But Mr. Raphael Magyezi’s introduction of the private members’ bill set the setting for what would become a contentious discussion marked by jeers, mob fights, suspensions of MPs, and arrests of MPs by armed intruders.
However, the combination of dramatic scenes was insufficient to filibuster the Bill. The Bill has been in effect for five years and five days at this point.
The Ugandanz News Website now strives to identify the men and women who worked so hard to lift the lower and upper age restrictions in light of how quickly the political landscape and the fortunes of political actors are changing.
The Kakumiro Woman MP, along with Ms. Ruth Nankabirwa and other individuals like Mr. Peter Ogwang, played a significant role in organizing MPs to guarantee that the Bill received resounding support.
She received a state minister for health post in December 2019 as payment for her efforts (General Duties). She was appointed prime minister after being re-elected last year, taking over for Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda.
Raphael Magyezi was appointed as the minister for local government by President Museveni in December 2019. When Mr. Museveni unveiled his Cabinet of fishermen, Mr. Magyezi was reappointed to the Cabinet and given the same docket despite the fact that he did not run for re-election in Igara West.
Ms. Christine Nakimwero Kaaya of the National Unity Platform (NUP) defeated Ms. Nankabirwa for the Kiboga District Women’s seat in the general elections of 2021, putting an end to her political career. Nevertheless, Mr. Museveni nominated her Minister for Energy and Mineral Development.
Political observers think that this was done to recognize her efforts as the Government Chief Whip. She received praise for encouraging NRM MPs to show up for debate and on election day. Only 6 NRM MPs abstained from the vote on December 20, 2017. Even though it was supposed to happen much sooner, she nevertheless received her reward.
Mr. Simeo Nsubuga was roughed up by Mr. Willian Buganda Ntege, alias Kyumakyayesu, during celebrations for Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi’s 24th coronation anniversary for being one of the architects of what was considered an evil Bill, but the reward for his support of the said bill did not materialize, leaving him disappointed. He quickly began criticizing the group for failing to acknowledge his contributions.
The fact that the residents of Kassanda South decided against voting for him again did not make matters any better. The Uganda Human Rights Commission has now nominated him as a commissioner, nevertheless.
Moses Grace Balyeku
Together with Mr. Jackson Kafuuzi, the former MP for Jinja Municipality West, they seconded the Magyezi Bill. But in contrast to his colleagues Mr. Kafuuzi and Mr. Ogwang, Mr. Balyeku did not receive a bonus in December 2019. In addition, he was passed over for any government positions after losing to Dr. Timothy Batuwa in the contest for the Jinja North West seat in the previous year’s parliamentary elections. Since then, he has led a peaceful life.
Similar to Ms. Komuhangi, the Namutumba Woman MP was tasked with helping the bill’s principal proponents by rallying NRM and independent MPs to support the legislation. When Mr. Museveni reorganized his Cabinet in December 2019, she received no compensation. However, she was re-elected to serve as Namutumba’s representative in the 11th Parliament, winning a race in which top party leaders ran an anti-her campaign even though she was the party’s nominee. That helps to understand why she disobeyed President Museveni and backed Ms. Kadaga’s failed bid to lead the 11th parliament as Speaker.