The Rwenzori region top cleric Reuben Kisembo has just released a strongly worded missive adding his voice to that of Acholi’s Bp JB Ondama and it reads as follows:
Fellow Ugandans, I salute you all in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour – Jesus Christ.
I am not seeking cheap or expensive popularity, but I am just being truthful and a patriotic Ugandan in my submission on the current presidential age limit debate in our country.
I don’t belong to any political party and politicians don’t have the monopoly on determining political matters / affairs of our country.
I have been reflecting on the fracas which happened in the Ugandan Parliament on 26-27th September 2017 which preceded the tabling of the motion by MP Raphael Magyezi of removing presidential age limit from our constitution. It was sad and unfortunate for us all.
I don’t condone violence, but in my opinion, the cause of those unfortunate incidents in parliament is the proponents of the removal Presidential age limit from our constitution. They are the ones that have now caused disharmony for: Parliament, Executive, and Judiciary and will ultimately have a negative impact on the whole nation of Uganda.
The Speaker of parliament should unleash her “authority” on those who are trying to justify the defilement of the constitution whatever reason they are giving to justify the amendment, and not on those who are defending the constitution.
Judicial officers appointed the President and approved by parliament may be scared to challenge the majority MPs and the President and incriminate those against the removal of presidential age limit even if they are the minority. Security agencies may intimidate, threaten, harass, torture, arrest, imprison or even eliminate those opposed to amending the constitution to remove age limit.
I wish to remind the President that in 1981 he started the bush war with only 27 soldiers but now is proud to have majority of party members in Parliament. In the same way those against removing the age limit could be few, but are the ones who are loving this country and wish the President peaceful handover and a peaceful transition.
Jesus reminds us that: “narrow is the gate that leads to life but wide is the gate that leads to destruction.” (Mat. 7:13-14) I also inform leaders not to trust crowds. The same crowd which was singing “Hosana” to Jesus as He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday was the same crowd saying: “Crucify” Him on good Friday.
Those opposed to removal of age limit are not enemies of President Museveni and Uganda. They appreciate him for the 31 years of his leadership and wish that he ends his services well as per the constitutional age limit. We remind the President that: “Even a good dance leaves the stage.” The Bible also reminds us that there is a time for everything: “A time to serve and a time to retire” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
I appeal to Government to spare money for “facilitating” members of parliament and any other money that is being used to “consult” citizens whether or not to remove the age limit and use that money for other critical areas like procurement of more essential drugs and equipment for our hospitals, recruitment of more teachers, etc.
I appeal to MP Magyezi and all proponents of the bill he tabled, to withdraw it from parliament.
I appeal to the President to lose interest in MP Magyezi’ bill, concentrate on serving his country faithfully as he has done and retire peacefully in 2021.
In the meantime, the NRM Members of Parliament should use the planned Caucus meeting this Friday to begin identifying a suitable replacement for the President when he retires in 2021. “For there is no success without a successor.”
The following biblical quotations should help us on this contentious issue of removing Presidential age from our Constitution:
2Chronicles 18:7 states: “ Ahab answered: ‘There is one more Micaiah son of Imla. But I hate him because he never prophesies anything good for me; its always something bad.” (GNB).
Prov. 9:8 states: “Never correct conceited people, they will hate you for it, but if you correct the wise, they will respect you” (GNB).
Prov. 29:1 states: “If you get more stubborn every time you are corrected, one day you will be crushed and never recover.” (GNB).
Prov.29:12 states: “If a ruler pays attention to false information, all his officials will be liars.” (GNB).
1 Peter 5:5 reminds us that: “…God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (RSV).
Ezekiel 33:1-6 states that: “The Lord spoke to me. Mortal man he said, tell your people what happens when I bring war to a land. The people of that country choose one of their number to be a watchman. When he sees the enemy approaching, he sounds the alarm to warn everyone. If someone hears it but pays no attention and the enemy comes and kills him, then he is to blame for his death. His death is his fault, because he paid no attention to the warning. If he had paid attention, he could have escaped. If, however, the watchman sees the enemy coming and does not sound the alarm, the enemy will come and kill those sinners, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their death.” (GNB).
There was an impending plot to kill the Jews who were living in the empire of Persia as recorded in Esther Chapter 3 and 4. When Mordecai learnt of that plot, he sent the following message to Queen Esther: “Think not that in the King’ Palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep quiet silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise from another quarter, but you and your father’ house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the Kingdom for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:13-14).
Yes, Government has tax payers money, “authority”, numbers in Parliament, guns, teargas and security agencies to intimidate, threaten, brutalize, terrorize, torture, arrest and imprison those against the removal of Presidential age limit from our Constitution, but the truth remains the truth.
Those who put the Presidential age limit in the Constitution were patriotic, knew the chaotic and turbulent conditions our country had gone through and wanted to avoid those similar situations.
Jesus encourages us: “Not to fear those who kill the body but can do nothing to the soul” (Mat. 10:28).
Proponents of the removal of age limit from our Constitution are just being greedy, selfish, abusing and betraying the love, respect and trust Ugandans entrusted to them to govern this country.
I appeal to fellow Ugandans – the opponents and proponents of the removal of Presidential age limit to avoid using violence against each other but debate rationally, logically and realistically for the good of our mother land Uganda. Let us do everything for God and our Country.
May the President, Members of Parliament and all proponents of removing age limit spare this country from the negative effects of life presidency by not deleting Article 102 (b) (Presidential age limit) from our Constitution, so that they don’t return us to bondage and enslavement and render our independence null and void.
For God and my Country.
Signed: Kisembo B. Reuben
Concerned citizen and Bishop – Diocese of Ruwenzori, Fort Portal.