By Halima Athumani
Parliament was forced to prematurely adjourn amidst heckling, whistle blowing and chants by legislators opposed to an amendment of the constitution.
The amendment is meant to scrap the age limit for anyone vying for the Presidency. Opponents to the amendment argue that when scrapped, President Museveni, 73, who has been in power since 1986 will extend his rule.
Bernabas Tinkasimire, an outspoken legislator from ruling party, said: “His time is over, 35 years for God’s sake; let us not be taken for granted. We will not allow them amend the constitution to serve one man.”
The constitution stipulates that such an amendment can only be submitted by the attorney general.
Mwesigwa Rukutana, the attorney general, while speaking to Anadolu Agency at the parliament, revealed that they are in the process of complying with a directive of the Supreme Court to produce a comprehensive constitutional review.
But, he adds: “The rules of the parliament allow a member to bring a bill and once he brings it, it is debated. And there is nothing wrong in it as Cabinet supports what he is doing.”
The Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah struggled to control the rowdy legislators, who were blowing whistles in the house, and adjourned the parliament till next week.
Meanwhile, police engaged in running battles with leaders of the opposition outside the parliament with others getting arrested.
At Makerere University, police fired tear gas and arrested several students as they attempted to match to the parliament.
The student leaders said: “As future leaders, we are here to ensure that no one should tamper with our constitution.”