Court Backs Ugandan President’s Sixth Term Bid

Museveni
Uganda President, Yoweri Museveni

 

A court in Uganda cleared the way for President Yoweri Museveni, 73, to run for a sixth term when it upheld a constitutional change that scrapped presidential age limits on Thursday.

Previously, the law required presidential contenders to be under the age of 75 and would have blocked Museveni, president since 1986, from seeking re-election in 2021.

But a bill removing the limit was introduced in parliament in September and signed into law in December, sparking demonstrations and outcry from the opposition which accuses Museveni of a power grab.

A group of opposition figures brought the judicial review heard by judges in a marathon session.

A majority of the constitutional court judges, sitting in the remote city of Mbale some 225 kilometres (140 miles) east of the capital Kampala, ruled in favour of lifting the age cap for presidential contenders.

But they struck down lawmakers’ efforts to extend their terms of office from five to seven years which would have pushed elections back to 2023, with one judge describing their effort as “selfish”.

The judges also decided that an attempt to reintroduce presidential term limits — scrapped with the reintroduction of multi-party politics in 2005 when the constitution was last amended — breached parliamentary procedure. They ruled the bid invalid, paving the way for a Museveni life presidency.

Museveni, who seized power at the head of a rebel army in 1986, once said leaders who “overstayed” were the root of Africa’s problems.

However while running for a fifth term in 2016, he said it was not the right time for him to leave as he still had work to do.

AFP

Ugandan President Backs ‘Frank’ Trump After ‘Shithole’ Remark

US President Donald Trump                 Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday hailed Donald Trump for speaking “frankly” to Africans, after the US president unleashed a storm by reportedly describing African nations as “shithole countries.”

“I love Trump because he speaks to Africans frankly. I don’t know if he was misquoted or whatever. He talks about Africans’ weaknesses frankly,” Museveni said in the capital Kampala to members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

Trump reportedly used the language at a private White House meeting on January 12, which led to condemnation in the US and around the world.

He has denied using that term, but admitted to using “tough” language at the meeting, and rebutted accusations of racism.

Museveni also turned to Twitter to show his appreciation for Trump’s use of language.

“Donald Trump speaks to Africa frankly. Africans need to solve their problems. You can’t survive if you are weak. It is the Africans’ fault that they are weak,” he wrote.

His comments were in stark contrast to the outrage expressed by other African leaders.

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo tweeted that Trump’s language was “extremely unfortunate”. Namibia said the president’s language had “no place in diplomatic discourse” and was “contrary to the norms of civility and human progress”. The African Union, which represents African countries, demanded that Trump apologise.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, meanwhile, described the reported comments as “racist”, “shocking and shameful”.

Museveni, 73, has been in power in Uganda since 1986 and could potentially seek a sixth term in office in 2021 if a bill to remove presidential age limits is passed.

No stranger to controversy, on Monday he described Uganda as a “pre-industrial society” and said he regretted removing the death sentence, saying the move had been “a recipe for chaos”.

AFP

Western Envoys In Uganda Walk Out Of Museveni Swearing-In

Museveni
Uganda President, Yoweri Museveni

There was mild drama at the Ugandan President’s inauguration in the capital Kampala where western delegations attending the ceremony walked out in protest.

US, European and Canadian diplomats left abruptly when Mr Museveni began making disparaging comments about the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The US State Department says they had also objected to the presence of Sudan’s Omar Al-Bashir at the ceremony. Mr Bashir is wanted by the ICC on charges of genocide.

Thursday’s inauguration – the fifth since Mr Museveni took power in 1986 – was attended by leaders from Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

In his address, Mr Museveni described the ICC as “a bunch of useless people” saying he no longer supports the institution.

East African Nations Partner To Defeat South Sudanese Rebels

East African nations are to move in to defeat South Sudanese rebel leader, Riek Machar, if he rejected a ceasefire offer, threatening to turn an outburst of ethnic fighting into a regional conflict, Uganda’s president, President Yoweri Museveni, has said.

Hours after Museveni’s ultimatum, rebels and the feared “White Army” militia clashed against government troops just outside Jonglei state capital Bor, officials said.

They said the government side was braced for a “full scale” attack on the town, seized by rebels for several days earlier this month and the site of an ethnic massacre in 1991. Thousands of civilians had fled for the surrounding swamps.

Two weeks of clashes have already killed at least 1,000 people in the world’s newest nation, unnerved oil markets and raised fears of a civil war in a region ravaged by fighting in Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We gave Riek Machar four days to respond (to the ceasefire offer) and if he doesn’t we shall have to go for him, all of us,” Museveni told reporters in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, referring to a December 31 deadline.

Asked what that meant, Museveni said: “to defeat him”.

He did not spell out whether South Sudan’s neighbors had actually agreed to send troops to join the conflict that erupted in Juba on December 15.

But his words underlined the scale of regional concern over the fighting that has spread to South Sudan’s oil-producing states – often along ethnic lines, between Machar’s group, the Nuer, and President Salva Kiir’s Dinka.

Past conflicts in South Sudan have sent refugees pouring over its borders, and spurred on rebels in neighbouring countries, including the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda.

There was no immediate confirmation of the pact to take on Machar from other East African countries, who have been trying to mediate and last week gave the sides until December 31 to lay down their weapons.

Kenya’s presidential spokesman, Manoah Esipisu, said it would be inappropriate to comment until the deadline has passed. Machar himself did not respond to calls.

Information Minister Michael Makuei said the rebels want to take Bor ahead of the deadline so Machar “can talk from a position of strength” once peace talks start.

“This is why he has been intransigent,” Makuei said.