Age Limit: Workers Accuse Their MPs of Coercion

1048 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Bruce Twesigye, the Chairman National Union of Education Institutions NUEI Makerere Chapter, told URN that the entire consultation was shrouded in secrecy, adding that majority of the participants were not even workers representatives.

Workers in Public Universities are protesting the manner in which worker's legislators consulted conducted consultations on the Constitutional (Amendment) (No.2) Bill.

The bill was tabled by the Igara West MP, Raphael Magyezi as a private member's bill proposes among others to scrap article 102 (b) of the  constitution that provides for the presidential age limit.

Last month, the speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga adjourned the house to allow legislators consult on the contentious bill. Each legislator received Shillings 29 million to facilitate the consultations with their electorates.

About 16 legislators, mostly from the opposition rejected the money and returned it to parliament.  A group of workers in Public Universities are contesting the mode of consultations by their legislators.

The worker's MPs include Margaret Rwabushaija, the former chairperson Uganda National Teachers Union, Agnes Kunihira, Aston Arinaitwe Rwakajara, Charles Bakabulindi and Dr. Sam Lyomoki.

Jackson Betihamah, the Chairperson of Public Universities Non-Teaching Staff Executive Forum - Puntsef, says they are considering petitioning the speaker of parliament over the discriminatory consultations.

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He claims that Worker's MPs led by Sports Minister, Charles Bakabulindi recently held consultations with selected individuals at Logogo Indoor stadium under tight security.

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Dr. Sam Lyomoki, who skipped the said consultative meeting, says the participants were hand-picked and cannot constitute the worker's position on the Age limit.

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Bakabulindi has dismissed the allegations, saying the participants willingly attended the consultative meetings and that over 90 percent approved the proposed scrapping of the presidential age-limit from the constitution.

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Arinaitwe Rwakajara, another workers MP, says the resolution from the consultative meeting is since it was taken by majority of the workers.
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When contacted for a comment on the consultations,
Usher Wilson Owere, the chairman General of the National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU), which represents millions of Ugandan workers said he was busy and didn't want to be dragged into the age limit discussion.
"I don't want to speak about that, as you can see, I am involved with the crisis of health workers so don't tell me about age limit," Owere said. 

Bruce Twesigye, the Chairman National Union of Education Institutions (NUEI) Makerere Chapter, told URN that the entire consultation was shrouded in secrecy, adding that majority of the participants were not even worker's representatives.

He dismisses claims that they received formal invitations, arguing that despite being a member of the Electoral College he only leant of the meeting from a colleague.
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About the author

Davidson Ndyabahika
Davidson Ndyabahika is a Journalism major from Makerere University and is passionate about investigative and data journalism with special interest in feature story telling.

He has gone through digital and multi-media training both at Ultimate Multimedia Consult, and has attended Data Journalism Sessions at ACME to enrich his capacity in data journalism.

Davidson has previously freelanced with The Campus Times, The Observer, Chimp reports and URN. He is currently reporting under Education. He is also passionate about reporting on environment, health, crime and political satire writing.

Follow him on Twitter: @dndyaba