Uganda

Minimum age for President should be 18, not 35 years

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Minimum age for President should be 18, not 35 years

While a good number of Ugandan political and civic leaders are agitating for lifting the age limit for one to contest for office of the president, I think it would make more sense for us to agitate for removing a minimum age for anyone interested in becoming President or Local Council leader in Uganda.

 

Uganda is one of the youngest populated countries in the world, with a life expectancy at birth of around 58.5 years. The life expectancy of males is 56.7 years and 60.5 years for females. Due to the high marriage rate in the country, the age structure is skewed towards the younger generations, with 48 percent of Uganda’s population being in the 0-14 year – old group. After that, 28.34% of the population of Uganda is in the 25-64 year old group, and 21.16% of the total population is dominated by the 15-24 year age group. Just 2.04% of the population is 65 or older.

 

These statistics show that Uganda can boast about a large population that can be classified as a work force, which can in turn help in its growth. However, with more than 97 percent being 64 years and below, any policy or legislative interventions should be targeting that group, and not the 2.04 percent. On account of logic, whereas one cannot seek an elective LC Chair position below 35 years of age, the same person is eligible to be elected to the national Parliament and to be appointed as a cabinet minister. What that means is that the three top organs of Government are not seen as fragile and critical. This shows the level of lack of priority and rather wrong legislation.

 

In my opinion therefore, we should rather direct our interventions to the under-65-year-olds to frame current policies because even 64 years is way beyond the country’s life expectancy.

 

The writer is a student of Public Policy at Makerere University and the Executive Director, Youth Aid Africa

 

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