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Museveni: Being an Incumbent President is a Disadvantage

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Uganda’s three-decade president Yoweri Museveni has said being an incumbent is a disadvantage, contrary to the notion that it gave him an edge over the opposition.

Museveni told a group of MPs from Parliament’s legal affairs committee at State House Tuesday evening that incumbency was not entirely advantageous.

The MPs met Museveni as part of the consultations on the controversial age limit bill. 

The age limit bill seeks to delete article 102b of Uganda’s constitution to allow Museveni contest for president beyond the age of 75.

The age limit clause stands between Museveni and his bid to extend his bid beyond 2021 when Uganda next goes to the polls.

Museveni was born in 1944 and has been in power since 1986.

In 1986, Museveni said Africa’s problem was leaders who overstayed in power. But if the age limit is removed to allow him rule for life, Museveni will have contradicted himself the more.


The MPs asked Museveni on the impact of his incumbency to the opposition when it came to elections.

“Incumbency in a way is a disadvantage,” answered Museveni.

He added that incumbency shifts the blame to the sitting president.

“You get blamed all the time.”

To further drive home his point, Museveni used the examples of Zambia’s Kenneth Kaunda in Zambia and Malawi’s Kamuzu Banda.

Museveni said it was possible for incumbents to lose elections if they were unpopular, just like Kaunda and Banda.

Earlier in the meeting, Museveni had said that age limits were unconstitutional. He added that people should vote and be voted, regardless of age.

“The presence of age limits for any elective office goes against Article 1 of the 1995 Constitution, the bedrock of that supreme law, which says ‘Power belongs to the people'” said Museveni.

“Since Ugandans are the custodians of the Constitution and their country, they should be given the ultimate duty of determining how and who should lead them through regular free and fair elections instead of being merely legalistic’.”

Museveni also backed the increasing of the term limit duration from five to seven years. 


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