KAMPALA — Fistfights and chair-throwing broke out in Uganda’s Parliament yesterday ahead of a debate on whether to grant long-serving President Yoweri Museveni a fifth term in office, local television showed.
The clashes involved government and opposition lawmakers.
Police fired teargas to disperse protests by students and other opposition activists, as they arrested a leading opposition figure, Kizza Besigye for allegedly organising the protests.
The move to amend the Constitution has met widespread resistance from activists, civil society organisations, religious leaders and even some members of Museveni’s own ruling party.
A Western ally, who sent the Ugandan military to fight Islamist militants in Somalia, Museveni won plaudits in the early years of his rule for restoring stability after years of turmoil and for drawing foreign investment.
But rampant human rights violations, entrenched graft and dysfunctional public services eroded his standing and fuelled opposition to his rule.
At 73, Museveni – who has already been in power for more than three decades – is ineligible to stand for re-election at polls in 2021, as Uganda’s Constitution sets a ceiling for presidential candidates’ age at 75.