Dozens of Ugandan lawmakers came to blows as members of the opposition party tried to stop the ruling body from passing a law removing the age cap from the presidency.
The fight started after some opposition ministers accused ruling party members of carrying guns, sparking a fierce argument which turned into pushing and eventually brawling.
Punches and chairs were thrown as ministers fought on tables and across rows of seats before plainclothes secret service agents hauled members of the opposition from the main chamber of parliament, located in Kampala.
After most of her ministers were hauled away by force, the leader of the opposition led the rest of her members in a walk-out, accusing the majority party of intimidation., Dailymail reports.
Ugandan law currently bans anyone over the aged of 75 from holding the country’s highest office, meaning current President Yoweri Museveni, 73, is ineligible to run in the next election.
But his party, the National Resistance Movement, has now brought a bill to scrap that law. Maximum term limits have already been removed, meaning the new rule change would allow leaders to rule indefinitely.
The National Resistance Movement holds a massive majority in parliament, meaning the law is almost certain to pass when it goes to a vote.
Opposition leaders say Museveni, who has ruled the country since helping to overthrow previous Ugandan leaders Ugandan leaders Idi Amin and Milton Obote, is attempting to establish a rule for life.
Musaveni has so far refused to be drawn on whether or not he wants to run at the next election, saying that the issue is ‘not important’.
Police have violently broken up street demonstrations protesting the effort to amend the constitution, arresting scores since the past week.
Erias Lukwago, the mayor of the Ugandan capital of Kampala, told reporters he is getting medical care after police officers allegedly ‘squeezed’ his genitals while arresting him outside his house last week.
Museveni, a U.S. ally on regional security, took power by force in 1986 and was re-elected last year in a poll marred by allegations of fraud and voter intimidation.
Although Museveni warned in the past that Africa’s problem was leaders ‘who want to overstay in power,’ he has since said he was speaking about leaders who were not elected.
Uganda has never seen a peaceful change of power since independence from Britain in 1962.
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