What Most Ugandans Really Think About the #AgeLimit Debate

The process in which government is using to bulldozing its presidential Age Limit lifting decision and pushing the people to endorse it isn’t practical. It’s now a discussion of either you are on this side or the other, with no room for dialogue. What of those with no side? Can’t we negotiate on what can work for both of us? Or can we come to an amicable agreement that allows a smooth transition and not have history repeat its self? I have grown up to witness my family live from a poor to lower middle income class family, watched my father server under this regime as a police officer for over 30 years with nothing much to show. Personally, I haven’t had the chance to witness a transition. Luckily, through the history lessons in my high school, I learnt of regimes characterised by monarchy, slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism, coupes, and dictatorship. One thing that characterised it all was endless holding of power. Back to today’s discussions and consultations around the issue of presidential age limit removal. We seem to be forgetting that the main discussion should be about the PRESIDENTIAL TERM LIMITS restoration.

We need a negotiated constitutional amendment, establish a constitutional review commissions and re-discuss its issues without bias. The 1st issue in relation to presidency would be restoration of term limits. Imagine if we elected a 35 yrs old president. Then he or she rules Uganda without term limits for the next 40 yrs (the age limit cap)? Except from not thinking out of the box, there is nothing much or new that president would offer. Then the age limit would not have served the purpose Ugandans have been made to believe it would. We are just mad at the way government is shoving its decision down our throats without proper justification. The government and the opposition need to let us as Ugandans have real dialogue on the issue of presidency.

Let me take you through some facts about our systems. We have built a weak political system that cannot sustain her people’s development without cohesion or technical know who as the order of the day.  For your constituency to be developed and allocated resources such as roads, schools, hospitals etc, you need to become a ruling party (NRM) flag bearer. And because people are poor, they conform to the party that holds the resources. That is wrong! We seem not to understand that secret ballot is actually a secret ballot. We vote in fear of trouble settling for the usual or in repayment for the “Kitu Kidogo” we have received with a tick on the ballot. The system is a mess. I am not just speaking for the opposition, government but rather for my fellow Ugandans.

In this debate, the opposition’s weak strategy is giving the NRM government a gap to justify their ways. It feels like the struggle is now a camera TV reality show, focused on enticing government reaction than winning of hearts of Ugandans. Even when Ugandans (majority) are together with them and angry, the opposition is failing to channel that energy. Rather, there are fighting newer and newer battles every day. The refusal for some Members of parliament to consult is so undemocratic, there is totally no common voice.

It is true when MPs (opposition) claim that receiving money from government is completing the corruption cycle. But what of the other monies you all (MPs) received? At least as Ugandans did not think it was necessary to spend such tax payers money on things like Ipads, cars and more which am sure you could afford. 90% of the MPs did not buy cars worth the amount of money they received or passed. So let’s not have a selective memory here, call a spade a spade at all times not selectively. There is too much corruption in the regime and misuse of tax payer’s money especially from an impoverished state like Uganda. But that s a battle for another day.  The opposition chief weep has petitioned IGG to investigate where this money came from, that’s fine but how I wish you all of us could focus your energies in fighting one battle and actually winning it. As opposed to picking on more than we can chew for now; At this point you need all the resources you need to mobilise masses, because you returning the money leaves the pro-regime Mps at an advantage over you and they sure will buy the support they need. Yet the money could be used to organise better consultations wisely using new digital tools bypassing the malicious police directive prohibiting joint MP constituency Age Limit consultations. Parliament would be the institution to take the discussion to another level but it has become a rubber stamp to the Executive, MPs have no free will.

Our democratic system is turning out to be a huge empty attractive shell. Good on paper yet absolutely impractical. We have peace, elections and political parties that are huge vacuums, sleeping giants to be awakened. The mistake most political parties are making is failure to build institutions. For example, NRM’s mistake is to think the party is Museveni and Museveni is the party. As for FDC, they too are and have played the personality card. Besigye being an activist, he has built an activist following who are failing to understand Muntu’s agenda of institution building. That’s how NRM is beating them, through grassroots structures hence numbers from local government level to top to back their agendas.

Most of the institutions if not all in Uganda, have been compromised; Security has been reduced to being partisan. The Media is either biased or busy making money through its adverts and forgetting its prime role. The Judiciary is in the government’s pocket, the Executive I won’t even say! The legislature absolutely has no free will, it’s for pay. Cultural and Religious Institutions just joint the majority youth unheard voice.

What’s left to do unless people move on their own? We need to demand the government through parliament for Term Limits to Be Restored. We need the opposition to focus! Farther more, we young people need to fight for our spaces and have a stake in our own future; this is not a foreigner’s or only adult’s war, but rather more of ours than theirs. If the country is governed well, then we shall achieve. We need a sincere cohort of people centred leaders to emerge in service. So let’s increase in doing the small initiatives we do for the sake of Nation building at an individual level, hence creating a difference. Let us at the same time exercise patience in the long run as our work over the time causes real effective change. Lets continue to amplify youth issues though creating think tank and solutions to our nation’s problems.


  1. Habiba Nakanwagi October 31, 2017 at 9:37 am

    I believe democracy is not for Africa, even after having new people in power it will take a short while and they don’t want to leave . African leadership consisted of Kings and the whole hierachy as you know and these kings would appreciate kingsmen with gifts etc. This is what is being portrayed in many African Parliaments

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