The Chairperson of Kigezi Inter-religious Council, Rev. Fr Gaetano Batanyenda has attributed the proposed changes in the law to change the system of electing the President, to the diminishing popularity of the ruling NRM.
He says the National Resistance Movement (NRM) is under pressure due to the fear to face the electorate in the 2021 elections.
“Now they are proposing that instead of being elected by all Ugandans, the party with majority members in Parliament should elect the President. It is still a rumor, but where there is smoke, there is smoke under beneath,” said Fr Gaetano Batanyenda, the parish priest of Kitanga Catholic parish in Kabale diocese.
He was addressing the press in Mbarara on Thursday while commenting on reports that legislators of the ruling NRM are mooting a Bill to introduce a new political system which gives Parliament (the majority party) to elect the President come 2021 as opposed to universal suffrage.
Fr Gaetano pegged the proposed changes to the fears by the ruling party to lose power due to the mistakes like passing of the controversial amendments that repealed the Presidential age limit as well as introducing the Mobile Money tax.
“I wouldn’t be surprised. Majority of the MPs are worried because of the two scenarios the Togikwatako (age limit) and Mobile Money taxes. All these people were supposed to go and consult with their voters and some who did just consulted their agents”.
“You have also heard some MPs being chased from burials, others denied to speak at any function in their constituencies. So, they are scared, they don’t know what the future holds”.
The outspoken priest who is a strong critic of President Museveni fears that the NRM will now resort to bribing voters especially in the new constituencies and districts in order to increase the party legislators in Parliament.
Fr Gaetano wondered whose interests the President will be serving given that he will not be elected by the masses but rather only Parliamentarians.
“Now, will he be the President of the Ugandans or for the MPs? Things have been worsen under the current political system, one wonders what will happen when he is elected by only MPs”.
He said Museveni is adopting former President, Milton Obote’s changes in leadership.
“To me, I think Museveni is buying leadership propaganda from the previous regimes where Obote II tried to do the same in 1978,” said Fr Gaetano.
“I was in Kanungu district during campaigns. Leaders like Rurangaranga, Rwakasisi, Peter Otai and the others said tell father Gaetano that UPC government will not leave power until 100 years. But are they still there?” he asked.
He appealed to Members of Parliament against proceeding with the amendment which he said would deprive Ugandans of their right to elect the President.
Instead, he asked them to allow Museveni to retire, after serving for so long.
“I pray that these selfish insatiable MPs leave our President to rest. Our Museveni has done a lot for us. Give him rest the man started his struggle when he was still a youth at Ntare School. Now at 75 years, he deserves a rest; give him a chance to make a political will that will benefit all Ugandans” explained Gaetano.