The Ugandan government has strongly backed its plans to scrap presidential age limit for candidates despite strong opposition by political parties and civil society organisations.
The age limit for a candidate to stand for president is currently 75 in Uganda and president Yoweri Museveni, who is now 73, will be two years older than the limit in the 2021 election.
Uganda’s deputy attorney general, Mwesigwa Rukutana told Reuters on Friday that the change of age limit is under examination by cabinet as part of the planned changes to the constitution.
If anybody has been serving very well and the population thinks he still has a lot to contribute he should not be precluded from doing so merely because he has clocked 75.
“If anybody has been serving very well and the population thinks he still has a lot to contribute he should not be precluded from doing so merely because he has clocked 75 … as long as people are voting, age of the candidate doesn’t matter,” he said.
A former Ugandan politician and now Executive Director of NGO Oxfam International, Winnie Byanyima, has called on members of parliament to reject the proposal which she describes as dangerous for the country.
Some youth groups of the opposition National Resistance Movement had also launched a campaign this week against the scrapping of the age limit. They were however arrested in the process for unlawful assembly.
In 2005, a constitutional amendment was made removing the two-term limit for the presidency to allow Museveni to contest for elections.
Mwesigwa Rukutana has denied that the proposal to scrap the age limit is a ploy to allow Museveni to stay on as president.