UGANDA’S President Yoweri Museveni, one of Africa's
longest-serving leaders, has signed a bill into law that removes a presidential
age limit of 75 from the country's constitution.
The move allows the 73-year-old president to run for a
sixth term in 2021.
Don Wanyama, senior presidential spokesperson, told
reporters yesterday that Museveni had signed the bill on 27 December.
The Ugandan parliament had passed the bill on 20 December,
with 317 politicians voting in favour and 97 against.
Museveni addressed the bill in his end-of-year address on
Sunday, saying he saluted the members of parliament who had supported it.
The Ugandan Constitution, enacted in 1995, previously
prohibited anyone younger than 35 or older than 75 from serving as president.
The scrapping of the presidential age limit, however, has
met widespread opposition from civil rights activists, opposition politicians
and religious leaders in the country.
In late September, members of parliament threw punches
and climbed over benches, in a heated session discussing the plan to remove the
"This law will remain largely inconsequential
because it was passed against the wishes of majority of Ugandans," Crispy
Kaheru, the coordinator of the Citizens' Coalition for Electoral Democracy in
Uganda, an umbrella organisation for Ugandan civil society.
Kaheru said there will be challenges both legally and
"in the court of public opinion … in the end it is the majority of
Ugandans who will have their last say on how they wish to be governed".
Museveni has ruled Uganda since 1986, when he took power
from General Tito Okello as the head of a rebel army.
He has served as president since 1996.