Uganda: Lawmakers throw punches, chairs in parliament brawl

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Lawmakers in Uganda threw punches and chairs during a live parliamentary session on Tuesday that ended in a televised brawl.

Local television showed government and opposition lawmakers exchanging blows after a ruling party legislator introduced a motion to remove a constitutional rule preventing President Museveni from running for re-election in 2021. Museveni has been in power for more than three decades after successfully removing a two-term limit from Uganda’s constitution in 2005.

 

Fistfights in parliament

Uganda’s constitution currently states that presidential candidates must be no older than 75 at the time of registering to run. However, Museveni will be 77 when Uganda hosts its next presidential election in 2021. Which means the long-standing leader’s reign will come to an end unless Article 102b is removed from the country’s constitution.

The government’s move to remove Article 102b has sparked widespread criticism – not only from political opposition but also religious leaders and even some members of the Museveni’s own ruling party.

Simply introducing the proposition in parliament on Tuesday resulted in fistfights and chairs being thrown.

 

Uganda to debate age limit

Peace was eventually restored in parliament on Tuesday, once lawmakers turned their attention to discussing less heated topics. However, the actual debate over removing Article 102b hasn’t even begun at a parliamentary level yet.

Previous to Tuesday’s parliamentary brawl, police fired teargas at student protestors and other activists in Kampala, local authorities confirmed.

“Some students and other young people were causing commotion and attempting to rob shopkeepers. We engaged them with teargas,” police spokesman Emirian Kayima said.

Protests over the legislative proposal have also been reported in other parts of the country. So far, nineteen people are confirmed to have been arrested – including opposition leader Kizza Besigye.

 

Featured image: By Russell Watkins/Department for International Development, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26240324

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.