Ugandan members of parliament have voted for a controversial bill that will see the presidential age limit lifted.
The supporters of the bill took the day with legislators voting to remove the age limit of 75 for presidential candidates.
This means that 73-year- old President Yoweri Museveni can seek re-election in 2021, despite his age. He has ruled the country for over 30 years.
The new bill re-introduces a two-term limit which was scrapped in 2005 to allow the current president to run for a third term. With the law in place, Mr. Museveni could serve two more terms following the next election.
The bill will become law once signed by Museveni.
In what is widely seen as a quid pro quo for lawmakers backing the unpopular age limit bill, the MPs and local government officials will now enjoy seven years in office instead of five. The legislation pushes the next parliamentary elections to 2023.
Commenting on the new changes, Human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo told AFP the moves were "a reversal of Uganda's democratic process".
"To remove the age limit — one of the most important safe guards — will entrench a dictatorial and autocratic regime in Uganda,” Opiyo said.
"In a country where — according to international observers — elections do not represent the free will of the people... the age limit was the only safety valve left which will allow the peaceful transfer of power from Museveni."
He termed it a "facade".
"It's not being made in good faith — it's being made to mask a broader scheme to remove the age limits."
President Museveni, could stay on for two more terms when and if a new bill is signed into law
Image: Daily Monitor