Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni attends the High Level Consultation Meetings of Heads of State and Government on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
Uganda’s ruling party has endorsed President Yoweri Museveni, 74, as its flagbearer in 2021 presidential elections, where he would most likely run for a sixth term in office.
The National Resistance Movement (NRM), in a resolution attended by top party stalwarts and chaired by the President, says Museveni should “continue leading the movement and the state in 2021 and beyond to eliminate bottlenecks to transformation.”
The move comes after a bill was signed in December 2017 scrapping a presidential age limit of 75, which would have blocked Museveni from running again, sparking demonstrations and an outcry from the opposition which accused the president of seeking to rule for life.
The constitutional court in July last year ruled in favour of removing the limit. Last month Uganda’s Supreme Court began hearing a petition to challenge this decision.
Museveni seized power in 1986 and had once declared that leaders who "overstayed" are the root cause of Africa's problem.
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. Many young Ugandans below 40 have come to know him as their only president.
Young Ugandans have recently been energised by pop star-turned-MP Bobi Wine, who spearheaded protests against the age-limit amendment and has rapidly become a thorn in the government’s side.
Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, told CNN in an interview earlier this month that he was “seriously considering” running for president in 2021.
“We believe that by the time we get to the election which is about two years away, we will have many Ugandans registered as voters and overwhelming Museveni looks like our only way out,” he said in the interview.
Kyagulanyi was charged with treason in August, along with more than 30 opposition politicians, over the alleged stoning of Museveni’s convoy after a campaign rally in the northwestern town of Arua.
During the campaign, Kyagulanyi’s driver was shot dead when soldiers from the elite presidential guard raided the hotel in which he was staying.
The singer has also accused the security forces of torturing and beating him while in custody and later received medical treatment in the US for the injuries he said he received. The authorities have denied the allegations.
Header Image Credit: time.com