NRM MPs opposed to the removal of the constitutional Presidential age limit have been thrown out of the party caucus convened on Friday for their outright opposition to the issue.
The NRM MPs previously tagged as ‘rebel MPs’ including Theodore Sekikubo attended the meeting despite being sidelined by government chief whip and NRM caucus chairperson Ruth Nankabirwa. Others that had been left out include; Barnabas Tinkasimire, Alex Ruhunda, Monicah Amoding, Patrick Nsamba and Mbwategamwa Gaffa and Sam Lyomoki.
Nankabirwa told the meeting that the said MPs were opposed to the stand of the party on the contentious issue and thus they had no business being part of a meeting whose sole purpose is to plan how the Bill can be pushed.
During the meeting, Nankabirwa criticized these NRM errant MPs for making conflicting statements in the media including threats, allegations that NRM is bribing the MPs.
Part of the agenda of the NRM caucus that convened at the Office of the Prime Minister on Friday is to lay out a strategy on how consultations will be carried out. President Yoweri Museveni who remains tightlipped on his position regarding the Bill is chairing the closed meeting which began at 12:45pm.
“And we continue to sit here and pretend that we are moving together?” Nankabirwa noted, proposing that the ‘rebel MPs’ exit the meeting.
The NRM caucus is meeting to discuss the recently tabled Bill that seeks to among others amend the constitution to scrap the maximum age (75) for one to run for President. MPs in the ruling party who have backed the proposal are expected to discuss measures to realize consensus both within the party and in the general public on the Bill.
But Sekikubo who sought to address himself to the President noted that the age limit issue had been rushed without proper consideration by party organs.
“This is a very critical matter both in the governance of this country and Constitution but also within the rims of NRM constitution,” he said.
“Such a fundamental issue ought to have been discussed and agreed upon by all organs of the party CEC, NEC to which MPs are members, and the national conference among others,” he added.
Earlier on, Independent Busiki county MP Akamba Paul had opposed the decision by Nankabirwa to sideline Sekikubo and his colleagues pleaded with the meeting to give them a chance to present their issues.
“Natural justice requires that the people you have mentioned be heard. They are here. What if they have another opinion? I propose that they be given an opportunity to express themselves over the matter. But I think ordering them out would be an arbitrary way to deal,” Akamba said.
The rebel MPs were given chance by President. However, majority of the MPs demanded that the ‘rebels’ are thrown out before strategies are laid.
Finally, the caucus agreed that MPs opposed to the age limit removal leave the meeting since they are in disagreement with the agenda.
Members of Parliament are set to embark on holding consultations with their constituents to gather their views on the contentious issue. Each MP will be facilitated with an estimated Ush 29 million but legislators on the opposition side have rejected this money which they claim is a bribe.
The NRM Parliamentary caucus consists of NRM members of Parliament and among its objectives is to consider and adopt a common position on any parliamentary business before the matter is tabled for debate in the House.
When a common position is adopted, members of the Caucus are bound to support the adopted position in the House.