Museveni attacks judges for rejecting 7-year-term
Four days after the Constitutional Court unanimously ruled against the extension of the term of Parliament and local government leaders, President Yoweri Museveni has issued a statement criticising the judges over the ruling.
In the statement posted on his social media platforms, Museveni expressed anger that the judges failed to understand the substance of the amendment and focused on issues of procedure to quash the amendment.
“Unfortunately, our judges in Uganda spend more time on form and not substance, on procedure and not substance. My freedom fighter’s sense of justice, in this matter (the age limit ruling) focuses more on the convenience of 7 years rather than 5 years,” Museveni stated.
For many political analysts, Museveni’s statement will appear to be intended to calm tensions within the NRM Parliamentary caucus where many accuse the president of betrayal.
Museveni in the statement explains why tenure of office for elected leaders needs to be revised upwards.
He suggests that little can be done within a five year term because a lot of time is spent on electioneering and less time on development.
“The first two years [are for] settling in, the third year, some work in the constituency and, then, by the forth year, electioneering again,” Museveni opined.
“In the end, however, the judges are not the ones in charge of the country. If the NRM MPs follow my guidelines and bond closely with the people, through wealth and job creation, we can, together with the people, make the necessary Constitutional reforms, judges or no judges,” he added.
What the judges failed to understand in Museveni’s opinion is that the Constitution is not a theatre democracy but rather a tool for modernisation of the country.
“The Constitution should facilitate the modernization of Uganda and the economic and political integration of Africa for the survival of the people of Africa as free people, not just the theatre of democracy of form without addressing substance,” Musaveni wrote.
On the argument by the Constitutional Court judges that the people were not consulted on the 7-year-term extension, Museveni reasoned that the outcome of the recent village council elections show that the population is in agreement with the amendments.
“The Judges should have taken into consideration the recent L.C.1 and Women Councils and Committees elections which gave massive victory to the NRM, soon after the age limit and the seven years’ debate. This was more or less a referendum. There was open participation by the millions,” Museveni said.
“We shall harmonise and galvanize our position. The undemocratic age limit nonsense was clear. “Nibagaya Engabo oti mwihemu abagurusi?” (How can you say old soldiers should be disqualified when everybody’s efforts are needed because the good soldiers are not enough?)” Museveni wondered.
Museveni also spoke about last week’s elections in the seven newly created Municipalities of Sheema, Ibanda, Njeru, Nebbi, Apac, Kotido and Bugiri.
While he congratulated his party for winning in five of the seven municipalities, he attributed NRM’s loss in Bugiri to tribal and religious divisions allegedly promoted by the opposition.
“It is a shame to hear of the sectarian manipulation by some elements of opposition in Bugiri- using religion (Islamism) and tribalism (Busogaism Vs Badaama). Such nonsense grows when there are weaknesses in the local area of handling the social- economic issues, service delivery and lack of sensitization,” Museveni said.
JEEMA’s Asuman Basalirwa won the Parliamentary seat while FDC Muzamiru Luba won the mayoral seat.
“The NRM leaders need to deal with social- economic issues, and the rest will be easy. This year’s budget has focused on these very issues. Those who use sectarianism of religion and tribe or gender chauvinism are bankrupt ideologically and dangerous for the future of Africa,” Museveni said.
Museveni threatened to take up criminal charges against the promoters of sectarianism.
“Sectarianism is Pseudo-ideology. If we get evidence about the promoters of sectarianism, we shall act against them politically and criminally,” Museveni said.
He also claimed that some of the voters that participated in the Bugiri election were imported from elsewhere.
“I also got alleged reports of importing voters in Bugiri as happened in Kyadondo and Jinja East. The case of Jinja East is in the courts on the same issue of importing voters from other areas,” Museveni said.