The floor of Uganda’s parliament witnessed chaotic scenes on Tuesday as legislators debated a motion around presidential age limits.
A leading media outlet, NTV Uganda described the incidence as ‘nasty scenes’ as Members of Parliament (MPs) are seen engaged in fist fights with the hurling of chairs between two factions.
On the substantive issue, head of the house, Speaker Kadaga, ruled after the day’s heated debate that the age limit motion had been allowed.
NTV UGANDA (@ntvuganda) September 26, 2017
Tensions continued in the house amid claims that one MP was in possession of a gun. The speaker subsequently ordered for a security official to carry out a search for ammunitions.
Opposition lawmakers arrived in the chamber for the day’s proceedings with red head and hand bands. Speaker Kadaga ordered them to take them off before business started.
Outside the lawmaking chamber protests continue in stiff opposition to the age limit motion which was championed by a section of ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) MPs.
A resolution was filed weeks back to allow a debate the removal of the presidential age limit currently pegged at 75. The debate was postponed last week amid heavy police deployment to parliament.
Now that it has been allowed, it could effectively mean a first step to allowing incumbent Yoweri Museveni contesting when next elections are due.
In 2005, a constitutional amendment was made removing two-term limit for the presidency to allow the president to run for a third-term which he won in February last year, even though opposition unsuccessfully contested the outcome.
73-year Museveni, will be two years older than the current age limit of 75 by the time Ugandans head back to the polls in 2021.