Ugandan court approved removing the presidential age limit of 75 years, a ruling that would potentially allow President Yoweri Museveni to extend his three-decade rule.
It endorsed parliament’s decision to scrap the cap in December that drew accusations from opposition parties that the 73-year-old Museveni wanted to be president for life and brought protesters onto the streets.
“The removal of age limit may encourage an incumbent to wish to keep himself in office perpetually but the citizens still retain the power to either return the same president or elect a different one,” said Elizabeth Musoke, one of four judges who endorsed the amendment.
Last December’s vote by parliament was the second time the Ugandan legislature has amended the constitution to allow Museveni to stay in power. In 2005 they voted to remove a limit of two five-year terms, which had blocked him from standing again.
“There is always danger that if the constitution is not strictly complied with, our hard-earned democracy shall degenerate into authoritarianism which leads to totalitarianism and dictatorship,” said Justice Kenneth Kakuru, who wasu the only dissenting judge on the issue of lifting the age limit.
“The entire constitutional amendment act … is unconstitutional and therefore null and void, and all its provisions ought to be expunged from the constitution of Uganda.”
Ugandans online have since hailed Justice Kakuru as a hero.