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Ugandan President Set To Rule For Life After MPs Scrap Presidential Term Limit

Ugandan lawmakers have voted to scrap the upper presidential age restriction, a decision that now paves the way for President Yoweri Museveni to run again in the 2021 elections.

The vote has been marred by chaos as opposition legislators furiously rejected the bill, claiming it was a way by Museveni to cling on to power.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

The bill got backing by more than a two-thirds majority. It garnered support from 315 MP’s, 62 voted against it.

The bill will now be sent to the president for assent.

MPs affiliated to the ruling NRM party said they supported the bill as the East African nation had no replacement for the incumbent.

Without the changes, Museveni would have been barred from running in the next vote as he would be over the 75-year limit requirement stipulated by the constitution.

The House also passed a bill that reinstates a two seven-year-term limit for the presidency.

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Unruly House

At the first reading of the controversial bill on Monday, the debate turned chaotic after members of parliament opposed to the motion started shouting and throwing chairs at those supporting it, forcing the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, to adjourn the seating to Tuesday.

But even on Tuesday the house came to a standstill again after one of the lawmakers announced that Ugandan soldiers had taken over parliament, claims that sparked confrontations between parliamentarians and police officers guarding the assembly, making it difficult for any business to be transacted.

“For me, I am shocked. I am really, really shocked. When I got there, both the Catholic and the Anglican chaplaincies were occupied by soldiers. They were eating from there. They have disorganized the whole place,” Speaker Kadaga was quoted by VOA News.

Her flare-up came only a week after she issued new parliamentary security guidelines, insisting that parliament is a civil institution that should only be guarded by the police. She even ordered all other security forces to stay away.

After Tuesday’s scuffle, Kadaga demanded to know why soldiers had been deployed in parliament and asked the minister in charge of security to apologize to the house. But in a quick response, the Ugandan Minister of Internal Affairs, General Jeje Odong, refuted claims of military presence in parliament, saying those present were police officers.

With the bill now passed into law, the 73-year-old Ugandan President is free to vie for another 5-year term, even as a section of the country continues to call for his retirement. Museveni has served as the ninth President of Uganda since 1986 after he overthrew President Milton Obote in 1985.

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Written by How Africa

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