Uganda’s top court paves way for Museveni to contest 2021 polls

Age and term limits for presidential aspirants have been a thing of debate in many countries but in Uganda, the matters have been put to rest after a 4-3 majority decision affirmed the legitimacy of a parliamentary amendment in December 2017 that abolished a limit of 75 years for presidential hopefuls, having previously removed term limits in 2005. This means that Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni can be president for life if he so chooses.

Election holds every five years in Uganda and Yoweri Museveni has won every election since democratic rule began in 1996. Previously, the 1995 Ugandan constitution provided for a two-term limit on the tenure of the president. However, the constitution has been revised to suit the sitting president and on Thursday, April 18, the validity of 2017 constitutional amendments was widely accepted in the East African country where critics say judicial independence has been eroded under President Museveni’s 33-year rule.

Initially, Museveni’s opponents, including lawmakers and individual opposition activists, legally challenged the amendment in the constitutional court which rejected their petition in 2017. Dissatisfied with the ruling, they appealed to the supreme court which to their dismay ruled that “the decision of the constitutional court is upheld. This appeal therefore fails.” 

Although Museveni has not indicated interest in seeking another term, a victory at the 2021 presidential elections could extend Museveni’s rule to 40 years, one of the longest reigns in Africa. Should the president seek re-election as he is widely speculated to, he is likely to face competition from politician cum entertainer, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, known by the stage name Bobi Wine who noted he is “seriously considering” running for president.

The Afro-beat pop superstar has already launched a movement to challenge Museveni’s 33-year-old rule in Uganda.