Fistfights erupt in Uganda's parliament amid move to extend Museveni rule

Fistfights erupt in Uganda's parliament amid move to extend Museveni rule

The fracas came about after the ruling party introduced a motion that would remove an age cap of 75 years on the country's President from the constitution - a move that would allow Mr Museveni to stand for re-election. But opposition politicians, rights activists and even some members of Museveni's party have criticized the measure.

President Yoweri Museveni, who is 73 and has ruled Uganda since taking power by force in 1986, is ineligible to run again in 2021 if the age barrier stays.

After Tuesday's violence, the Uganda Communications Commission ordered radio and television stations to stop live broadcasts of events that are "promoting a culture of violence amongst the viewers and are likely to create public insecurity or violence".

This week, as lawmakers debated one of the country's most important bills, Uganda's parliament turned into an ultimate fighting ring.

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Lawmakers threw chairs, used microphone stands as makeshift weapons and brawled on top of the seats in the house.

According to reports, about two female lawmakers were rushed out of the hall to the hospital.

In 2005, a constitutional amendment was made removing the two-term limit for the presidency to allow the president to run for a third-term which he won in February past year, even though opposition unsuccessfully contested the outcome.

When finally put to the vote, the bill is expected to pass easily, as the majority of the almost 500-member chamber belongs to the ruling party.

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No station aired Wednesday's proceedings, but some posted clips of the brawls on their Twitter feeds.

Since last week, when a motion to kick-start the amendment process was supposed to be read but never made it to the floor, both police and military personnel have been deployed around the parliament and many parts of the capital.

Police fired teargas to disperse protests by students and other opposition activists, as they arrested a leading opposition figure, Kizza Besigye for allegedly organising the protests.

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