Ugandan president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has finally spoken on the controversial age limit debate that months back led to clashes in parliament.
According to the 73-year-old leader who has been president since 1986, age limits were unconstitutional and that power belonged to “the people,” and that it was for the people to decide who led them irrespective of their age.
Museveni dismissed talk of a 75-year-old being too old to lead a country. “Politics is not Olympics or rugby where you need to compete physically. The presidency is a guiding role,” he is quoted to have said whiles meeting lawmakers conducting consultations on a bill to scrap presidential age limit.
Under existing Ugandan laws, there is an age limit on who can aspire to the office of president. A minimum of 35 years and an upper limit of 75.
Museveni last won elections in March 2016 when he was 72 years. By the time the next elections is due in 2021 he would have passed the 75 year limit. A parliamentary process is underway to scrap the age limit which will allow him to contest for another term in 2021.
He also spoke about the extension of presidential mandates from the current five to seven years. In his view, such an extension will afford the leader enough time to undertake developmental projects.
“For these countries with all these problems … five years is just a joke,” a statement from the presidency quoted Museveni as saying. “Leaders in Africa have much more to do and need adequate time (between elections) to develop the continent.”