Uganda’s opposition leader Dr. Kiiza Besigye has been arrested. Besigye was picked up on Tuesday afternoon from Mini Price in down town Kampala, a few minutes before parliament started debating a motion on the proposed scrapping of the presidential age limit from the constitution.
Heavily armed anti-riot police personnel ordered Besigye to step out of the car in vain. As a result, police towed Besigye’s vehicle with the opposition leader inside to Kampala Central Police Station.
Emilian Kayima, the Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, confirmed Besigye’s arrest, saying he had broken the law. “I will give details soon,” said Kayima in a message.
Tension has been building since members of parliament allied to the ruling National Resistance Movement-NRM party mooted a proposal to scrap article 102 (b) from the Ugandan constitution, which limits the president’s age to between 35 and 75 years.
The move is seen by many Ugandans as an attempt by ruling party to pave way for president, Yoweri Museveni who has ruled the country for the last 31 years to contest once he clocks his retirement age.
Raphael Magyezi, the Igara East MP and a member of ruling party is expected to present a motion seeking leave of parliament to draft and present a private’s member’s calling for the removal of the presidential age limit.
Both the cabinet and NRM party caucus have voted to support the proposal. However, opposition leaders have vowed to block the proposal, which has trigged concern across the country.
Several Ugandans fear that any attempt to extend Museveni’s stay in power is likely to destablize the country. Already some Ugandans have started sending message asking citizens to brace for tough times ahead should the proposal succeed in parliament.