Thursday, September 14, 2017

Changing the rules in Uganda

 Uganda's ruling party,  the National Resistance Movement (NRM), have voted to introduce a bill to abolish presidential age limitations. When passed by parliament, the changes will let President Yoweri Museveni extend his grip on power.

The move is seen as a thinly-veiled push by Museveni, who has ruled Uganda for more than three decades, to hold onto power. Uganda's constitution currently bans anyone over 75 from becoming president, which stops Museveni, now aged 73, from standing for elections scheduled in 2021. Few believe the motion will fail as the NRM holds a two-thirds majority in parliament. 
The amendment will be the second major change to Uganda's 20-year-old constitution to directly favor Museveni's continued stay in power.
In 2005, parliament voted to change the constitution allowing a president to serve more than two five-year terms. Although he came to power in a rebellion in 1986, Museveni ran the country unelected for ten years until 1996 when Uganda lifted its ban on political parties. The 2005 amendments allowed Museveni to stand again. 
"Museveni was quite appealing when he came [to power] because of Uganda's violent history and the challenges the country was facing. He was kind of a breath of fresh air," Norbert Mao, the president of the opposition Democratic Party, told DW.  "But he has shattered our hopes. He manages to stay in power by changing rules to serve him."

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