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Regional court to rule on whether lifting Uganda’s presidential age limit was legal


Regional court to rule on whether lifting Uganda’s presidential age limit was legal

uganda leader
Photo: Mike Hutchings/Pool/EPA

The East African Court of Justice (EACJ) will decide today whether long-time Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will be allowed to participate in the country’s general election next year.

The 73-year-old president lifted a constitutional age limit in 2017 that would have prevented him from retaking office in 2021. Museveni’s opponents argue that the removal of the presidential age limit threatens the core principles of orderly succession of power and democratic governance.

If the court rules against Museveni, all preparations for the 2021 election would be halted until another candidate is nominated. The president’s government has warned that a postponement of the election could lead to serious destabilisation.

Each of the country’s past five elections, all of which resulted in a Museveni victory, have been fraught with electoral malpractices, such as voter bribery and intimidation. Uganda’s Ministry of Defense has requested over $4 million for military “management” of the election, pointing to irregularities in 2021.

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Museveni could be seriously weakened if the EACJ blocks his bid. However, despite a growing opposition movement amongst Ugandans dissatisfied with Museveni’s 34 year-long rule, his party, the National Resistance Movement, will likely remain in power. Do not expect the court’s ruling to mitigate electoral corruption in 2021.

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