Uganda law makers exchange punches over debate on presidential age limit

Uganda’s parliament has taken the first step towards scrapping the presidential age limit that will allow long-standing ruler Yoweri Museveni to stay in power. Tempers frayed for a second day yesterday over a plan, backed by members of President Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, to table a constitutional amendment doing away with age limits, allowing the 73-year-old to run for a sixth consecutive term in 2021. MPs brandished microphone stands, threw punches and clambered over benches as security officers sought to remove 25 lawmakers barred by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga after engaging in another brawl on the same issue the day before. Despite the disruption, Raphael Magyezi’s motion seeking to introduce a private member’s bill proposing the removal of age limits was passed with an overwhelming cry of “Aye!” from government MPs after leader of the parliamentary opposition, Winnie Kiiza of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), led a walk-out. Supporters of the motion argued that age limits discriminate against the elderly.