Museveni's bid to conquer age.

Author:Ojulu, Epajjar
Position:AROUND AFRICA: UGANDA
 
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Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni who has been in power for 31 years appears to be working on yet another constitutional amendment that will allow to continue to rule even after crossing the age threshold. Epajjar Ojulu analysis looks at how Museveni has managed to remain in power for so long.

When the current term of his presidency ends in 2021, President Yoweri Museveni will have hit the 75-year old mark and won't be eligible to stand again under the constitution. But Museveni and his supporters have proved themselves past masters in the art of manipulating the constitution to provide him with yet another lease of life as head of state.

A parliamentary motion prepared by one of the MPs supporting him is seeking an amendment to the article in the constitution that bars anyone aged 75 years and above from contesting the presidency.

Opposition MPs were so enraged by this motion that they attempted to block it from being tabled, by heckling and causing mayhem in the House. They ignored Speaker Rebecca Kadaga's order suspending them from the House for disturbing seating and for misbehaving. Kadaga ordered Special Forces to storm the legislature to bundle out the suspended MPs.

Fist-fighting broke out with defiant MPs using every item, including chairs, to hit back at the "invaders". The MPs were eventually overpowered and severely beaten up, sustaining serious injuries, including broken arms.

While some opposition MPs were nursing their wounds, the ruling NRM party MPs were in the House deliberating on the proposed amendment of the constitution, which is widely expected to be passed in the coming months.

Museveni's long tenure, making him among the top five longest-serving African presidents, is in sharp contrast to the rapid turnaround of national heads of state the country experienced during its often bloody first two and a half decades.

Uganda became independent from British rule in 1963 with Milton Obote as the prime minister and Kabaka Edward Muteesa II as president. The country's slide to eventual anarchy was set into motion when Obote changed the 1962 constitution to declare himself president after storming King Muteesa's palace in 1966.

Obote's hopes for keeping hold of power were, however, cut short in 1971 when he was toppled by the British-backed army commander, Gen. Idi Amin, who declared himself Life President. Amin unleashed an orgy of brutality and ruthlessness. He murdered prominent leaders, including the archbishop of the...

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