Uganda introduces bill to scrap presidential age limit
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 frayed 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.
Live broadcasts of the parliamentary proceedings were suspended by media regulatory body the Uganda Communications Commission prompting an outcry from rights group Amnesty International.