Ugandan legislators pass 'Age Limit' bill

Controversial bill allows 73-year-old President Yoweri Museveni to extend his 31-year rule

Ugandan legislators pass 'Age Limit' bill

World Bulletin / News Desk

Ugandan legislators on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a controversial bill that removes the age limit for the presidency.

Parliamentarians voted for the legislation after three days of sometimes heated debate. The bill was passed 315 to 62 with two abstentions.

President Yoweri Museveni must now sign the bill into law.

The current law prohibits anyone over the age of 75 from being elected as president but the bill removes this restriction.

The constitutional change could allow 73-year-old Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, to run for an unprecedented sixth term in office in 2021. 

However, parliament reinstated presidential term limits in the constitution by passing a clause in the bill. It states that a person shall not hold office as president for more than two five-year terms.

Also, if the president wants to extend his rule, he will have to call for a referendum in 2021.

MP Raphael Magyezi, who sponsored the bill, was excited about its passing, calling it “the best day of my life”.

“I got what I wanted, and 315 [parliament] members supported me."

On the term limits, Magyezi said: “This was not about President Museveni. It is a win-win [situation]. The opposition fought, and we had to give them something."

Winnie Kizza, leader of the opposition in parliament, praised members of the opposition and some ruling party legislators who voted against the bill.

“I led men and women who had a strong conviction. They had to defend the constitution.”

Although the bill was passed, Kizza stressed: “Today, we have raped Ugandans. We have mortgaged the country. We have broken the hearts of Ugandans.”

The vote brought to an end five months of debate, fighting, shouting, heckling and the eventual suspension of six members of the opposition opposed to the lifting of the age limit.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Aralık 2017, 11:26