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Uganda Opposition to challenge Museveni 'life presidency' in court
PHOTO:Winnie Kizza, Uganda's Leader of Opposition addressing journalists in Kampala on the way forward for Opposition after MPs voted age limit removal. She was flanked by several MPs including Joseph Sewungu, Kalungu West(R). PHOTO BY ALEX ESAGALA


Dec,21-2017 12:17:28
The Opposition in Uganda will move to court to challenge the amendment of the constitution to remove the presidential age limit.

The move follows a Wednesday vote in parliament for the change that effectively paves the way for President Yoweri Museveni to serve a sixth term in office.

The leader of Opposition, Winnie Kizza, said the whole Wednesday parliament process was fraudulent.

"We are going to challenge the process [in court]. We want to let Ugandans know that we played our part and now we are giving ball to the Ugandan in a new campaign K'ogikutteko," she said while addressing journalists in Kampala on Thursday.

The Opposition MPs said the likes of Kitgum Municipality member, Beatrice Anywar popularly known as Mama Mabira, would regret paving the way for Mr Museveni’s 'life presidency project'.

"We even warned Speaker Rebecca Kadaga that what the MPs were doing was illegal, but she gave us a deaf ear and continued with process," Ms Kiiza added.

The highly controversial bill passed with 315 votes for, 62 against and two abstentions, after three days of chaotic debates in which some opposition MPs were suspended, while others walked out.

The bill will pass into law once it is signed by President Museveni.

Under current laws, President Museveni, 73, would not be eligible to run for office again in 2021 as candidates over 75 are not allowed.

The new bill re-introduces presidential term limits, which were scrapped with the introduction of multi-party politics in 2005. However, this will only come into force following the next election -- meaning President Museveni could serve two more terms.

And in a move widely viewed as a quid pro quo for lawmakers backing the bill, the terms of MPs and local government officials were extended from five to seven years, pushing parliamentary elections to 2023.

Human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo told AFP the moves were "a reversal of Uganda's democratic process".

"To remove the age limit -- one of the most important safeguards -- will entrench a dictatorial and autocratic regime in Uganda," Mr Opiyo said.

Spokesman for the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party Rogers Mulindwa denied that the law was designed to benefit President Museveni personally.


"The NRM can choose President Museveni or someone else to stand in the next elections. If he happens to be one of the first beneficiaries then there is no problem. We have also seen that people above 75 are celebrating," Mr Mulindwa said.

"Lifting the age limit opens opportunities to all ages -- young, middle aged and old ones so they can contest the presidency. It should not be limited to 35 to 75 year olds -- that's discriminatory."

On the move to extend parliamentary term, Mr Mulindwa said that would benefit everyone "even the opposition."

Museveni, a veteran former rebel leader, seized power in 1986, ending years of brutal and murderous rule under Idi Amin and Milton Obote.

He once said leaders who "overstayed" in power were the root of Africa's problems. However, as he ran for a fifth term in office in 2016, he said it was not the right time for him to leave, as he still had much work to do.


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Kenyan Groceries Sale