Uganda: Debate over Age-Limit in Presidency

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016 by Liz Kliewer

As we are full swing into the political race to the white house here in the US; listening to debates and determining which candidate to vote for in the upcoming election, we should remember to be grateful for our freedom of choice. While those at the forefront of the race may seem less than desirable options, there are places where having more than one legitimate candidate is all but possible. For example, in Uganda – President Yoweri Museveni has been ruling the country since 1986 and it does not appear that he desires to retire anytime soon.

Here is just a glimpse into the political climate in Uganda and the most recent events that have transpired surrounding the presidency.

 
Recently President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda celebrated his 72nd birthday. The occasion was very low-key and his administration released a statement that the president was busy with his duties, but there may be a family function to celebrate his birthday. Opposition challenges the statement, saying Museveni is not the age he claims to be, and in fact does not know how old he really is. The reason for all the controversy stems from the 75-year limit for the presidency as set forth in the constitution.
 

“President Museveni…celebrated his 72nd birthday making him three years shy of the retirement age as enshrined in the Constitution.”
(Museveni celebrates 72nd Birthday)

 
Following this quiet celebration, a bill was brought up by lawmakers in Parliament to extend the age limit for the president. The bill was killed, which prevents Museveni from running for president again in 2021.
 

“Opendi led cabinet rejection of motion widely seen as ploy to allow President Museveni to stand again in 2021.”
(Ministers Kill Age Bill)

 
bukenya-and-museveni

Bukenya and Museveni

 
Now, the former vice president is strongly encouraging Parliament to pass a bill in order to keep Museveni in his role as president indefinitely.
 

“Former vice president Prof. Gilbert Bukenya has urged parliament to enact a law enabling President Museveni to rule for life.”
(Former VP asks Museveni to stay for life)

 
In a recent interview with Bukenya, he makes a statement expressing support for a clause that would allow Museveni to stay in office for another 5 years or more. Interestingly enough, he does not wish to make this a law to apply to all future candidates, but rather an allowance for one individual.
 

“President Museveni has put in a lot of effort, so we can have a clause for him, but for subsequent leaders there should be a term and age limit.” – Bukenya
(Interview with former VP Bukenya – term limit and age limit should be bypassed for Museveni)

 
Surrounding all of these events, there have been many protests from both sides of the argument relating to age-limit and the presidency. While no violence, injuries or deaths have been reported…these conflicts have a history of escalating quickly and causing unrest in the communities where they occur. If it continues to build, safety can become an issue.
 
I share all of this so you will know better how to pray for Uganda and its people. While Uganda might be considered a democracy to some, there are many obstacles to that becoming a reality. So as we proceed in this upcoming election, pray for our country — but also remember to pray for God’s people in Uganda.

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