I decided to make it a routine that once in a while I provoke discourse on this forum on age limit issue so that as the country’s youth we appreciate where each of us draws their attitude toward that great question of the day.
That great question should, unlike Bismarck’s famous clarion call, be settled by informed arguments and wooing and not “iron and blood”.
I support the removal of age limit because I know what is best for my rural constituents.
You see, the problem with town elite especially us on social media is that we don’t seem to appreciate why peasant communities vote the way they vote and why they choose to support what they support.
Today, I will tell you why the peasants in Rakai have chosen to support the removal of age limit.
First, let me disabuse the notion that removing age limit clause will bring about a life Presidency. That is simply a figment of people’s imagination.
We should not agitate for unfair political rule games from western countries (most if not all do not actually have age limits).
If our democracy is to grow, we need to remove all the bottlenecks and instead push for a level ground.
One such bottleneck is the edging out of Ugandans from contesting for Presidency just because they are past a certain age. That is not how political inclusion works.
*Animal Farm arguments*
Arguing that President Museveni as an individual is the country’s problem is an argument akin to the story in the Animal Farm.
You remember when Old Major addressed the animals rallying them that “remove man from the scene and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished forever”?
We all know what the pigs did to the rest of the animals later on after the revolution.
Here is the why my Rakai peasants see through all the Animal Farm campaigns being pushed by those opposed to the Age Limit proposal.
I will refer you to two books: The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia by James Scott and The Rational Peasant: The Political Economy of Rural Society in Vietnam by Samuel Popkin.
The main argument or question in those two books, especially Scott’s, is why peasant choose to stick to a leadership that many see as bad.
He uses the analogy of rice growers in south Asia, especially Vietnam to argue that peasants (and Uganda is largely a peasant country) will choose to stick with a leader who assures them and guarantees their bare minimum needs than opt for a leader who promises them heaven on earth.
The rice growers in Asia could not risk their bare minimum livelihoods on the altar of a promise for a Sugar Candy Mountain where it is Sunday seven days a week.
The argument that Museveni should be removed just because he is 75 years, therefore is to them not only ridiculous but incompressible.
They may not have access to the best health care system, to the best education system or to the best roads like the Americans and British do but that can’t be a basis for them to risk their bare minimum.
That is the very reason they did not fall for promises of laptops and Wi-Fi internet during the Presidential Campaigns. They understood the promise for handheld hoes and menstrual pads.
I oppose the opposition against the removal of age limit because age cannot used to put the livelihoods of my people in the hands of the Napoleons and Squealers.
We all know how life at the Manor (Animal) Farm turned out to be when Mr Jones was driven out of town.”
Juliet Suubi Kyinyamatama, MP (Rakai)