Amnesty International – Stop clampdown on supporters of presidential age limit

Amnesty International has asked Ugandan authorities to stop their absurd attempts to silence people opposed to scrapping the presidential age limit.

This is after the much anticipated debate on a motion seeking leave of parliament to present a constitutional amendment removing age limit on the presidency failed to take off yesterday amid chaotic scenes in parliament and on the streets of Kampala.

Earlier in the day, Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago was arrested by the police and bundled into a pick-up truck outside his home on suspicion that he was headed to a protest against the proposed change.

Some opposition MPs were blocked from accessing parliament to participate in the debate, which was later deferred to Tuesday next week.

Demonstrations against the change were also banned.

Now in a statement, Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa says all Ugandans must be allowed to freely express their views for or against issues of national importance to them.

The actions the government is taking in this case amount to criminalizing dissent and contravene both Ugandan and international law.

Kagari adds that these raids are simply desperate attempts to harass and intimidate civil society organizations.

However, the Ofwono Opondo, the executive director of Media Centre, responded yesterday saying, that while they “value diplomatic relations with all the countries of the world, Uganda is not very keen to take unqualified lectures from foreign agents.