Fistfights And Chair-Throwing in Uganda’s Parliament

There was a brawl  in Uganda’s parliament on Tuesday as MP’s debated the removal of the presidential age limit to grant long-serving President Yoweri Museveni another term in office.

Under their existing constitution, a candidate for presidency must be under 75 years and that would make Yoweri Museveni, 73, which means the opportunity to stand at the next polls in 2021 had been capped.

President Museveni originally seized power in 1986 as head of a rebel army  and he was elected president democratically since 1996. The move to extend his rule has met widespread opposition from civic rights activists in the country, the political opposition, religious leaders and even some members within Museveni’s own ruling party. He has been in power for more than three decades.

The fracas broke out during a plenary session after the speaker of parliament allowed the constitutional amendment to be presented to MP’s. Tempers flared and things began to get out of control. Lawmakers were filmed exchanging fists and throwing chairs at each other after it was alleged an MP had brought a gun into the chamber.

Earlier that day, police had fired tear gas at some protesters in the capital Kampala before the debate began and  it took 20 minutes for the commotion inside the parliament house to settle.