Uganda Bans Some Broadcasts Ahead of Debate on Letting President Run Again

  • Communications body warns of live feeds ‘inciting the public’
  • Lawmakers to discuss change that would let president run again

Ugandan authorities told broadcasters to stop airing some live coverage as the East African nation nears a parliamentary debate on a constitutional amendment that would let President Yoweri Museveni attempt to extend his three-decade rule.

The Uganda Communications Commission directed all broadcasters to refrain from airing “live feeds which are in breach of the minimum broadcasting standards,” according to a statement published on Twitter by NBS Television, a local channel. The commission said it “noted with concern” that radio and TV stations are relaying broadcasts that “are inciting the public, discriminating, stirring up hatred, promoting a culture of violence” and “likely to create public insecurity or violence.”

The UCC didn’t identify specific broadcasts, although channels regularly carry feeds from Uganda’s parliament, where the ruling National Resistance Movement is backing the removal of a clause in the constitution that sets a 75-year age limit for presidential candidates. Such a change, which needs to be debated in parliament and passed by a lawmakers’ vote, would allow Museveni, 73, to run for re-election.

Parliamentary speaker Rebecca Kadaga adjourned proceedings in the chamber prematurely on Tuesday after some opposition lawmakers were involved in scuffles and sang the national anthem, preventing parliamentarian Raphael Magyezi from presenting a private members bill on the proposed amendment. The assembly will reconvene Wednesday.

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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