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Ugandan MPs pass motion to remove constitutional age limits for the President

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museveni

President Yoweri Museveni

A section of Ugandan legislators met in an extraordinary parliamentary session on Tuesday to pass a motion that would remove presidential age limits, thus allowing President Yoweri Museveni to remain in power.

According to local reports, the session was facilitated by a government minister and legislators affiliated to the ruling National Resistance Movement; a few independent MPs also attended the session.

All but two legislators in attendance approved the motion; the two legislators, both from the NRM, stormed out of the meeting as the motion was put to a vote.

The passing of the motion is the most visible attempt yet at facilitating President Museveni’s run for presidency in the 2021 elections; it may however be foreshadowing a bill that seeks to also amend constitutional clauses relating to the office of the vice-president, currently a presidential appointee who can be fired at will.

Article 102 of the Ugandan Constitution sets the age limit for a presidential candidate as “not less than thirty-five years and not more than seventy-five years”; thus Pres. Museveni, who turns 73 this week, will be ineligible to vie in 2021, if the clause remains in place.

However, with the Ugandan Constitution vulnerable to such amendments, as these do not require a national referendum but approval in a parliament long dominated by the ruling party, it is plausible that an attempt to remove this clause will be made.

If such an attempt succeeds, it will be the second time the Ugandan Constitution has been tweaked to enable Pres. Museveni to stay in power.

The current Constitution, which was passed in 1995, had its two-term limit for the president dropped in time to allow Pres. Museveni, who had at that point been in power for two decades, to vie in the 2006 elections.

The scrapping of the term limits was tied to the restoration of multiparty politics.

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