March 20, 2018

Brawl breaks out in Ugandan Parliament for second day

29 September 2017, 12:51 | Kristopher Drake

Fistfights, chair-throwing erupt in Uganda's Parliament during President's age-limit debate

Protests in Ugandan Parliament Due to Motion on Terms of Office

The move to jettison the age limit is widely seen as an effort by Museveni to extend his rule.

Uganda's parliament has taken a first step towards scrapping the presidential age limit that would allow long-time leader Yoweri Museveni to stay in power, in a heated session that saw politicians brawling for a second consecutive day. The current age-limits are preventing him from standing for another term, and that is the primary reason for the amendment of the constitution.

Although UCC was not explicit enough in its communication that it was the ongoing controversial age limit debate in parliament and country-wide protests that it was targeting, subsequent social media communication from the Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Frank Tumwebaze seems to indicate just as much.

In a notice on Wednesday, the Uganda Communications Commission said radio and television stations should stop live broadcasts of events that "are inciting the public, discriminating, stirring up hatred, promoting a culture of violence ... and are likely to create public insecurity".

You have to go back more than a century to 1902 for the last incident of a fistfight breaking out in either the House of Representatives or the Senate.

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Some MPs exchanged blows and kicks while others used microphone stands as weapons in the brawl; and at least two female lawmakers were carried out of the parliament after collapsing, according to Reuters. Upon being ordered to leave, they were joined by other MPs who walked out in solidarity with those opposed to the amendment to allow the 73-year-old Museveni, who has been in power since 1986 and increasingly accused of authoritarianism, to be eligible for re-election in 2021.

In previous days, the police have issued memos banning protests of the constitutional amendment that would drop presidential age limits.

Uganda's ruling party enjoys an overwhelming majority in the national assembly and the bill is expected to pass.

Nineteen people including Uganda's leading opposition figure, Kizza Besigye, were also arrested.

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