Chaos in Ugandan parliament as MPs debate age limit motion

Posted September 29, 2017

The brawl broke out over a proposed change to the constitution to allow for President Yoweri Museveni to run for re-election past the age of 75.

As the Members of Parliament debated the issue of presidential age-limit, violent and chaotic scenes erupted in Parliament among them.

According to reports, about two female lawmakers were rushed out of the hall to the hospital.

Museveni, who is 73 and has ruled Uganda since 1986, is ineligible to run again in 2021 if the age barrier stays. The speaker had some 25 MPs forcibly ejected for fighting on Tuesday, which led to other like-minded MPs leaving the chamber, Reuters reported.

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Tension in parliament has been heightened by a proposed motion that would prevent anyone over the age of 75 from running for president.

This was the second time in five days that legislators interrupted parliament by singing the national anthem for more than 20 minutes to block the bill, despite Kadaga giving Magezi the nod to present the motion challenging the presidential age limits.

When finally put to the vote, the bill is expected to pass easily, as the majority of the almost 500-member chamber belongs to the ruling party.

On Wednesday, in response to the violence in parliament, Museveni's government took its efforts one step further by announcing that it would ban live broadcasts of events "inciting the public", including parliamentary debate.

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The brawl, which was captured on camera, lasted for several minutes before the parliamentary security personnel stepped in to restore sanity to the honorable house.

Uganda's two major privately owned TV stations, including a local unit of Kenya's Nation Media Group, and some radio stations carried Tuesday's parliamentary session live.

The country's main opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye, Museveni's main political rival, has often been detained, put under house arrest and even charged with treason.

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