In Uganda, the debate on the age limit of the president has invaded the public space especially since clashes took place in Parliament on Wednesday. Recently, Minister of State for Investment and Deputy Evelyn Anite affirmed that the proposed change of Constitution that would allow Yoweri Museveni to represent himself in 2021 (in power since 1986) is supported by the army. Talks that have caused scandal but that have not been commented on by the Army (UPDF) so far and raise questions about the positioning of the army.
The special forces of the army – directed until recently by the son of the president – are pointed at the violence that took place in Parliament last Wednesday. The army spokesman did not want to answer this question.
Richard Karemire says the Ugandan army is ” a non-partisan force ” and has no official opinion on the age limit: ” As a UDDF we have no position on this issue. We respect our mandate to ensure that our country remains at peace. That is why we conduct all these operations in which we have engaged in the Central African Republic, South Sudan or Somalia.”
Richard Karemire recalled that if the army wishes to express itself, it has official relays that allow it: ” If we wish to show a position, it will come. We have bodies clearly established by the UPDF act. We have the high command, we have the defense council. We have 10 members representing us. If we have an opinion we can easily make it pass through them.”
The position of the army vis-à-vis President Museveni is not as clear as it has been in the past. The 2016 presidential election and subsequent UPDF revisions showed dissonance.