Fistfights Erupt as Uganda Lawmakers Debate President Age Limit

Ugandan opposition MPs scuffle with security trying to eject some of the MPs in the Parliament in Kampala, Uganda, on Sept. 27, 2017.

Photographer: Ronald Kabuubi/AP Photo

Fistfights erupted in the Ugandan parliament for a second day as lawmakers discussed a proposal to introduce a constitutional amendment that would allow President Yoweri Museveni to try to extend his three-decade rule.

The proposal to introduce the bill was adopted after the speaker ordered the eviction of 24 opposition legislators who attempted to block the discussion, the Kampala-based parliament said on its Twitter account. Wednesday’s violence started when the suspended lawmakers were dragged out by security agents, the Daily Monitor newspaper reported. A government minister was also told to leave after he entered the legislature with a firearm on Tuesday, it said.

Inside Ugandan Parliament, Sept. 27.

Photographer: Charlotte Cosset/AFP via Getty Images

The ruling National Resistance Movement is backing the removal of a clause in the constitution that sets an age limit of 75 for presidential candidates. Such a change, which needs to be debated and passed by lawmakers, would allow Museveni, 73, to run for re-election.

Museveni is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders alongside Teodero Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, Paul Biya of Cameroon and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe. Uganda abolished a limit of two five-year terms in 2005, allowing Museveni, who first took power as a guerrilla leader, to prolong his rule. He won a disputed election in 2016, with the next vote due in 2021.

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