Kampala – Uganda’s top court Thursday upheld a decision to scrap presidential age limits, paving way for the country’s 74-year-old leader, Yoweri Museveni, to seek a sixth term in office.
In a majority decision, a panel of Supreme Court judges rejected a legal challenge to the constitutional amendment that jettisoned a clause preventing anyone 75 and over from holding the presidency.
“This appeal therefore fails,” Chief Justice Bart Katureebe declared in handing down the court’s majority 4-3 verdict.
The country’s Constitutional court had in July 2018 also upheld the amendment that led to the removal of the presidential age limit, and this was the decision that was being contested at the Supreme Court by the appellants.
Africa Tembelea understands the three appellants moved to court after President Museveni signed the contentious Bill into law on December 27, 2018.
The Bill was enacted into law after it was overwhelmingly endorsed by the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM). The NRM members who supported the Bill carried the day with 317 votes against 107 from the opposing side. The Age Limit Article 102(b) of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda prevented presidential candidates outside the age bracket of 35 – 75 from vying for the top office.
Museveni who has been president of Uganda since 1986 once said leaders who “overstayed” were the root of Africa’s problems.
However, while running for a fifth term in 2016, he said it was not the right time for him to leave, as he still had work to do.
With the restricting Constitutional requirement completely out of the way, Museveni will be free to vie again after the ruling NRM party endorsed him as its candidate for 2021.