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Former VP Bukenya asks Museveni to rule for life

Former vice president Prof Gilbert Bukenya has urged parliament to enact a law enabling President Museveni to rule for life.

At his Katomi resort hotel in Wakiso on Friday, the former Busiro North MP told The Observer that Museveni is the founder of the nation who deserves special treatment. Subsequent presidents, however, Bukenya said, should adhere to the 75-age limit enshrined in the constitution.

“As far as President Museveni is concerned, let him continue. He has good ideas, but as a principle for subsequent leaders, there must be an age-limit,” Bukenya said.

“Museveni is a Mahathir Mohamad of Uganda; so, I would let him be a special something and lead until his time comes.”

Mahathir Mohamad, who ruled for 22 years, was Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister. He is credited for leading the transformation of Malaysia from a third to first-world country.

Bukenya, who lost the vice president’s job in 2011 and his Busiro North seat in 2016, further said Museveni “has put in a lot of effort; so, we can have a clause for him.”

Gilbert Bukenya with President Museveni at his hotel in Katomi recently 

According to Bukenya, of all Uganda’s past leaders, only Museveni has been able to lead the country to significant development.

Besides Mahathir Mohamad, he also compared Museveni to Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere and Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, noting that they all ruled for long and propelled their countries to greater heights.

At the same time, Bukenya emphasized the need for a constitution that stands the test of time. In that regard, he said Museveni could be enabled to stay on as president without necessarily having to amend article 102(b) of the constitution, which prevents him from standing again in 2021, having attained 75 years. This, Bukenya said, can be achieved through other avenues such as a referendum or a presidential order.

“It does not mean that we will have it in the constitution. We can even make a presidential law and say: “In as far as President Museveni is concerned, we lift the age limit because of what he has brought to this country.”

Last year, Bukenya joined the opposition Democratic Alliance (TDA) in a bid to defeat Museveni in the 2016 elections. However, he later made a surprising U-turn and decided to back NRM’s Museveni.

The former VP doesn’t seem to have recovered from the flip-flop as he came third in the Busiro North parliamentary elections in February. Bukenya later announced that he had quit elective politics to concentrate on other ventures.

During the interview at his lakeside Katomi resort hotel, off Entebbe road, Bukenya appeared relaxed and in high spirits. He kept flashing his trademark smile and scoffed at critics who claim that he is broke.

“How can I go broke with all this treasure?” he asked, pointing at his gigantic hotel. 

The former VP said he now spends most of his time between Katomi and Kakiri, along Hoima road, doing personal business.

“I wish I had left politics much earlier because now I’m peaceful, I’m doing what I want to do,” he said.

abumay1988@gmail.com

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