Uganda’s leading lawyers sought on Monday to overturn a law that critics say would allow incumbent leader Yoweri Museveni to effectively become president for life.
The law, passed last month, scrapped a constitutional provision that limited the age of a presidential candidate to below 75 years. It clears the way for Museveni, 73, and president since 1986 to seek re-election in 2021 when the next polls are due.
Francis Gimara, president of Uganda Law Society (ULS), told Reuters the lawyers petitioned in court on Monday to nullify the law.
“The overall climate in which that bill was discussed and passed … was wrong,” Gimara said, citing a security raid on parliament and insufficient consultations with the people.
Many Ugandans including the political opposition, religious leaders and some members of Museveni’s own ruling party opposed the proposal to change the constitution.
Protests against the move erupted in different parts of the country prompting police to use teargas, beatings and detention to thwart them.
In September fist fights broke out in parliament for two consecutive days as lawmakers opposed to the measure tried to filibuster it.
In a move widely condemned by rights groups, security personnel entered the debating chamber on the second day and forcibly removed some legislators after the speaker suspended them for involvement in the fighting.