In a precise but bold statement, Local Government minister, also Igara West MP, Raphael Magyezi announced that he will not seek re-election as Igara West MP in a move seen by political pundits in Bushenyi as intended to avoid competition with Kasambya MP, Louis Mbwatekamwa Gaffa.
Magyezi, known for moving Parliament to amend the Constitution to delete Article 102(b) that set age caps for presidential contenders, made the announcement on a Saturday morning political talk show on Crane FM in Bushenyi, western Uganda.
“My statement is very clear, tindikuza kwesimba mu karuru akari kwiija ak’omwaka ogu, abwa Member bwa Parliament, Igara West [I will not stand for re-election as Igara West MP in the coming elections],” Magyezi said.
Magyezi joined Parliament in 2011 is not giving a definite reason for quitting elective politics after only 10 years especially after executing an assignment that gave President Yoweri Museveni a new lease of political life.
The 75-year-old Museveni would be ineligible for re-election at next year’s presidential elections had Magyezi’s “age limit” bill failed to go through Parliament.
Because of his lead role in the passing of the bill, Magyezi once claimed to have received threats against his life before Mbwatekamwa started mobilizing against him.
But Magyezi says, his role in the age limit has nothing to do with his decision to quit elective politics.
“The age limit bill was based on the argument that it was an injustice for a person who wants to stand but is below 35 years or above 75 years [the age limits as per the now-deleted Article 102(b)], secondly, it was unfair to the voter,” Magyezi said.
After the amendment was controversially passed, Mbwatekamwa who was part of the 37 NRM MPs that voted against it, announced his relocation from Kasambya county in Mubende, to his native Igara West constituency for the purpose of “punishing Magyezi.”
Mbwatekamwa was born and raised in Gongo village in Igara, Bushenyi District. Last week, he picked nomination forms from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party to contest for the seat where he is already a registered voter.
Magyezi however denies that he is quitting for fear of losing the seat to Mbwatekamwa.
“You who are reporting that I have quit the race because of pressure… where do you get that from? have not been nominated anywhere, I have not made posters and nobody has been nominated yet, my statement is clear, I am not going to stand for elections this time,” Magyezi said.
It is understood that Magyezi has had reservations about the guidelines that were announced by the Electoral Commission in June which among others prevent political contenders from holding campaign meetings. To Magyezi, this is going to make the ruling NRM look selfish.
Abel Mugabe, an NRM supporter said that Magyezi’s decision to quit at a time when the country is preparing for elections leaves many questions than answers.