Uganda opposition age-limit bid to block veteran leader

President Yoweri MuseveniUganda’s opposition has launched a legal challenge to block President Yoweri Museveni from running in elections next year, claiming he is too old to be eligible to stand again.

Museveni, the east African nation’s leader since 1986, held official celebrations for his 70th birthday on September 14 last year, but activists accuse him of lying about his age to circumvent the country’s laws imposing an age limit of 75 on presidential candidates.

Museveni has already been given the green light as candidate for the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) by the party’s top body, but ex-prime minister, former loyal ally and party veteran Amama Mbabazi, 66, wants to challenge him.

Mbabazi campaign spokesman Benjamin Alipanga launched a case in court on Thursday to ban Museveni from running on “grounds of physical and constitutional incapacity of age,” the petition read, according to a report in the Daily Monitor newspaper.

Museveni “will not be qualified to serve a full five-year presidential term from 2016 because he will be past the constitutional age limit provided for in the Uganda constitution,” it added. The case will be next heard in court on July 17.

Museveni was this week pictured in a Ugandan newspaper mock fighting a local councillor after telling Ugandans to learn self-defence. He described himself as “still very strong”.

Earlier this month, he said he was in “excellent health, save for occasional malaria attacks, coughs or mild allergic reactions in the nose”, and added that “even today, there are hardly any physical exertions that I cannot undertake except squatting, which I find a bit uncomfortable these days.”

Museveni’s aspiring challenger, Mbabazi, is only four years his junior.

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