Uganda Leader Slams Court for Quashing Longer Lawmaker Terms

(Bloomberg) -- Uganda’s Constitutional Court may have cleared the way for President Yoweri Museveni to seek a sixth term in 2021 elections -- but he’s still not happy with the judges.

The court last week upheld a December constitutional amendment that abolished an upper age limit of 75 for presidential candidates, benefiting Museveni who’ll have reached that age by the next vote. Yet he criticized Monday its simultaneous rejection of a parliamentary ballot that extended lawmakers’ terms to seven years from five.

Longer terms would be more “convenient,” giving members of parliament more time to implement development programs rather than campaign for elections, Museveni said in an emailed statement.

“Unfortunately, our judges in Uganda spend more time on form and not substance,” the 73-year-old said. “In the end, however, the judges are not the ones in charge of the country,” he added, promising that his ruling party would “harmonize and galvanize” and make necessary constitutional changes.

The former guerrilla leader took power in 1986 and is one of Africa’s longest-serving rulers alongside Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, Denis Sassou Nguesso of Republic of Congo and Cameroon’s Paul Biya. Lawmakers passed a vote on altering the presidential age-limit clause in December amid an outcry from opposition parties who said it would create a “life presidency.”

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