Swazi Observer - - NEWS -

KAM­PALA - Uganda's Par­lia­ment on Wed­nes­day took the first step to­wards scrap­ping the pres­i­den­tial age limit that would al­low long-stand­ing ruler Yow­eri Mu­sev­eni to stay in power.

Tem­pers flared for a sec­ond day over a plan, backed by mem­bers of Pres­i­dent Mu­sev­eni's Na­tional Re­sis­tance Move­ment (NRM) party, to ta­ble a con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment do­ing away with age lim­its, al­low­ing the 73-year-old to run for a sixth con­sec­u­tive term in 2021.

MPs bran­dished mi­cro­phone stands, threw punches and clam­bered over benches as se­cu­rity of­fi­cers sought to re­move 25 law­mak­ers barred by Speaker Re­becca Kadaga after en­gag­ing in an­other brawl on the same is­sue the day be­fore.

De­spite the dis­rup­tion, Raphael Magyezi's mo­tion seek­ing to in­tro­duce a pri­vate mem­ber's Bill propos­ing the re­moval of age lim­its was passed with an over­whelm­ing cry of "Aye!" from gov­ern­ment MPs after leader of the par­lia­men­tary op­po­si­tion, Win­nie Ki­iza of the Fo­rum for Demo­cratic Change (FDC), led a walk-out.

"We are not go­ing to be part of Mu­sev­eni's life pres­i­dency project," Ki­iza said.

Sup­port­ers of the mo­tion ar­gued that age lim­its dis­crim­i­nate against the el­derly.

"Age should not be a fac­tor that hin­ders the rights and free­dom of any Ugan­dan to vie for the post of a pres­i­dent," said Moses Ba­lyeku.

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