Drama ensued at the funeral of Dr. Abel Rwendeire, the former Deputy Chairman of the National Planning Authority at Kibuzigye Primary school playground in Bubaare Sub County in Rubanda District on Sunday, when Kitanga Parish priest Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda attempted to grab a microphone from government chief whip Ruth Nankabirwa.
Rev.Fr. Hebert Agaba, the Kakore Catholic Church Parish Priest who was leading the funeral mass recognized Reverend Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda, the Chairperson Kigezi Inter-Religious Council and Kitanga Catholic Parish Priest.
He hailed him for his strong mobilisation against the proposed amendment of article 102(b) in the 1995 constitution. Article 102(b) restricts the president's age to between 35 and 75 years.
Drama started after Ruth Nankabirwa; the Government Chief Whip took to the podium. She accused Fr. Batanyenda of being at the forefront of fighting the proposed amendment, saying there is need to amend the article since it is only God who determines one's age on earth.
Nankabirwa's statement didn't go down well with the mourners, they shouted back saying "Togyikwatako" loosely translated don't touch it, a phrase adopted by those opposed to the proposed constitutional amendment.
Other mourners hurled insults at the government whip prompting Fr. Batanyenda to try to grab the microphone from Nankabirwa in vain.
Some of the mourners told media on the sidelines of the funeral that they are totally opposed to the proposed scrapping of the presidential age limit because it is only meant to benefit President Yoweri Museveni as an individual and not the country.
Bigweera Odongo, one of the mourners from Kekubo in Kabale municipality, says he shouted at shouted at Nankabirwa because she was talking nonsense. Bigweera says there isn't need to amend Article 102(b) to give Museveni another chance of standing in 2021, saying Uganda needs a peaceful transfer of power.
76-year-old Michael Muramira, a resident of Kyantobe cell in Ihanga parish in Bubaare Sub County in Rubanda District, says there is no way he can support the proposed amendment, adding that those behind the motion are serving their selfish interests.
He says president, Museveni should retire peacefully when he clocks his retirement age.
Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda, the Kitanga Catholic Church Parish Priest, says the way Nankabirwa was booed down shows that Ugandans are aware that all those behind the proposed amendment are parasites who don't wish to see a peaceful transition of power in the country.
He vowed to continue preaching against the age limit removal despite intimidations and harassment by state operatives.
The Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda who was the chief mourner didn't comment on the matter. He described the late Dr. Rwendeire as a patriot, nonsectarian and development oriented person.
Dr. Rwendeire succumbed to heart failure at Nakasero Hospital in Kampala on Thursday at 66 years of age. He is survived with six children and four grandchildren. He joined NPA in July 2008 following his four-year tenure as a Managing Director at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, (UNIDO).